From the University of Evansville:
The University of Evansville women’s basketball program has become one of the best in the Missouri Valley Conference, and the job of keeping the Purple Aces near the top now belongs to Misty Murphy. The associate head coach at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Murphy was introduced today as the Aces’ head coach. She replaces Tricia Cullop, who resigned last month after eight years as head coach to take over the program at the University of Toledo.
Evansville tied for the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title this past season, reached the second round of the WNIT, and finished with a record of 21-12.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for someone like me, to come into an established program where the future is very bright,” Murphy said. “Tricia Cullop did a great job of building the reputation of University of Evansville women’s basketball, and she left her successor a good situation to come into. My goals are to build on what Tricia did, and vie for the Missouri Valley Conference championship. We certainly have no intention of taking a step backward.”
Added University of Evansville Director of Athletics John Stanley, “We were very fortunate to have so many candidates interested in coaching at the University of Evansville. This is a clear tribute to what Coach Tricia Cullop and her staff did to build the reputation of women’s basketball at our school. Our selection, Misty Murphy, is not only an excellent basketball coach with a strong background in playing and coaching. She is also very outgoing, and I know our fans and community will appreciate her energy and her interest in getting to know them and promoting UE basketball.”
Murphy has been at Rice the past three years, serving under head coach Greg Williams. The Owls were chosen for the WNIT in 2006 and 2007. Valeriya Berezhynska last month became the third Rice player in the past eight years to be selected in the WNBA draft, going to the Detroit Shock in the third round.
Before stepping up to the Division I level in 2005, Murphy spent two years as a junior college head coach, and four years as head coach at the NCAA Division II level. She compiled a 42-19 record in two years at Sheridan (Wyo.) College, leading her team to conference championships in both 2000 and 2001. She was the league coach of the year in 2001. Three of her players went on to play at the Division I level, including junior college All-American JoAnn Doyle. Murphy then compiled a 66-46 record in four years as head coach at Colorado State-Pueblo. Her 2002 squad produced the school’s first winning season in more than a decade, and her 2003 and 2004 squads were RMAC west division co-champions. The 2004 team was the first in school history to win 20 games. In her combined seven years at Colorado State-Pueblo and Rice, the graduation rate for women’s basketball players was 100 percent.
“Being part of a classy program is very important to me, and when I had a chance to meet with some of the women’s basketball team members at Evansville, I could tell they are first class, no doubt,” according to Murphy. “They were very respectful, they are goal-driven, and they have a passion to win. I could tell it’s a tight-knit group, and it’s a group with great team chemistry. Those are the same kind of people we will continue to recruit. We’re going to do whatever it takes to build upon their success of the past.”
Murphy was an outstanding player herself, earning JUCO Honorable Mention All-America honors at Sheridan College in 1992. She went on to become the Most Valuable Player at Colorado State University and also made the all-Western Athletic Conference team in 1994. Murphy spent three years as an assistant coach at Colorado State, where the Rams compiled a record of 61-25. She spent the next two years as an assistant coach at the University of Northern Colorado, helping UNC to a 38-19 record, before embarking on her head coaching career at Sheridan College.
Misty and her husband, Mike, have one daughter, Gabrielle, who is 4, and a son, Brayden, who will be 2 in August.
What Others Are Saying About Misty Murphy:
Greg Williams, Current Head Coach at Rice:
“It is definitely a sad day here at Rice, but at the same time, we are very happy for Misty to be able to get this kind of opportunity to be a head coach. Being a head coach at the Division I level was a dream of hers when she came to Rice three years ago, and I am certainly happy to see her reach that goal today.
“We will definitely miss Misty at Rice. She did a fantastic job for us and was a big part of our success the last three seasons. Misty is a very bright, young, energetic coach with a great future ahead of her, and she is someone who is certainly ready to be a Division I head coach. This is a great day for the Evansville program, and I think that Misty will prove that point in the years to come.”
Joel Smith, Commissioner of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:
“Misty did an exceptional job at CSU Pueblo. More importantly, she was a leader among the coaches in the conference and was successful at building positive relationships.”