|Title:||Head Men's Basketball Coach|
Jack Murphy enters the 205-16 season returning to the court after his most successful season to date; leading his Northern Arizona Lumberjacks to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Championship game.
During the 2014-15 season, the Lumberjacks set a school record for wins in a season (23) and postseason wins (4). Over 3,600 fans packed into the Walkup Skydome to watch NAU beat Kent State in overtime in the quarterfinals. For the semifinals, over 5,500 fans returned to the Skydome to watch the Lumberjacks defeat NJIT and advance to the championship game. NAU fell in the championship game to Evansville, but not before gathering the entire town of Flagstaff behind them. NAU went 14-2 at home, finishing tied for third in the Big Sky standings and going 23-15 overall. Huge wins over Saint Mary’s, Fresno State, and Loyola Marymount highlighted NAU’s non-conference slate.
In 2013-14, Murphy was able to increase the Lumberjacks’ overall win total to 15-17 and 12-8 in conference play and lead NAU to a second place finish in the Big Sky. That’s 10 more overall wins and 11 more conference victories than what NAU had the year before Murphy took over. January started off very well for NAU as it ended Montana’s 31-game Big Sky home winning streak. NAU’s season sweep over the Grizzlies was something that hadn’t been done by the Lumberjacks since the 2007-08 season. The Lumberjacks were the only team in the Big Sky to sweep the Idaho State-Weber State road trip, as it handed the Wildcats their first conference home that season, snapping a league record 27 straight home wins. Junior transfer guard Quinton Upshur was named the 2014 Big Sky Men’s Basketball Newcomer of the Year, in addition to earning Big Sky First Team honors, while Max Jacobsen was a Big Sky Honorable Mention pick. In his first season playing for NAU, junior center Len Springs finished with 58 blocked shots to tie for third all-time on the NAU season charts.
In his first year as head coach, Murphy coached both Gabe Rogers and Stallon Saldivar to All-Big Sky honors. Rogers received first team accolades, while Stallon Saldivar received honorable mention honors. Murphy led the Lumberjacks to an 11-21 overall record and 8-12 mark in the Big Sky, as he coached the Lumberjacks to their first Big Sky Tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season.
NAU finished fourth in the conference with 69.2 points per game. Rogers led the league with 20.1 points per game, while DeWayne Russell ranked first amongst all freshmen with 13.3 points per game.
Since Murphy’s arrival in Flagstaff, he has started the Annual Lumberjacks Coaches Clinic that has brought an exceptional group of speakers to NAU, including George Karl, Damon Stoudamire, Josh Pastner, Sean Miller, Mike Dunlap, Dave Rice, Tim Grgurich and much more. For Murphy’s NAU Annual Speaker Series, which helps raise funds for the men’s basketball program, Karl, Steve Kerr and Ben Howland have been guest speakers.
Murphy’s career includes working for three successful programs that have a combined 400 wins, 14 postseason appearances and five championships.
Murphy came to NAU after three seasons on the University of Memphis staff as an assistant. He joined the coaching staff at Memphis under men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner in 2009-10, posting a 75-29 record with three 20-win seasons.
During Murphy’s tenure, Memphis earned two NCAA Tournament appearances, earned an NIT berth and won a Conference USA regular season title and two Conference USA Tournament Championships. Murphy, who handled the Tiger‘s defensive efforts in 2011-12, was the lead assistant on a staff that guided the team to a sweep of the Conference USA titles while posting the 10th-best field goal percentage defense in the country.
Murphy was instrumental in Memphis securing a top five recruiting class in 2010 featuring four players ranked among the nation’s Top 100 and two McDonald’s All-Americans. The class was ranked No. 2 nationally by Scout.com, No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 4 by ESPN. The Tigers have signed three more Top 100 players since, including two more McDonald’s All-Americans.
In 2011-12, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, losing to St. Louis in the second round. Memphis was the only team among the top-10 rated