Tom Murphy remains one of the best college basketball coaches of the past seven decades. For over seventy years, the coach has led two of his teams to win a consecutive 83 matches and one team to win over 200 matches. Suffice to say that Tom Murphy remains one of the best college basketball coaches of this generation.
Murphy started his coaching career at Colton Pierpont’s high school basketball team but didn’t stay as a coach there for long. From there, he moved on to Belleville’s Union Academy, where he set a state record for the number of matches won consecutively. His team would go on to win 83 matches, making history in college basketball.
Murphy followed up on his very impressive win streak by taking over as head coach at Hamilton College. He would join the team in 1970, leaving behind union academy. Throughout the time that he coached with the team, they would go on to win 602 games. In fact, throughout the 16 seasons, they at least won 20 games in each one. His performance over nine years with the team also earned him the National Coach of the year award in 1979.
According to Murphy himself, he thought that the entire event was a massive turnaround. Even though he managed to make the team nothing short of stars, it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the school board that brought him on said as much when they explicitly said that the job was going to be a rebuilding effort.
Getting the team to the point where they could confidently win at least 20 games each season was no walk in the park. They consistently lost the first 15 games, with every loss taking them back to the drawing board. And even though they managed to win the last game of the season, it took another two years for them to really find their rhythm.
But when the team finally found its footing, it managed to maintain that momentum for the next 30 years. Even in their worst seasons, they were consistently winning at least 20 games.
After spending multiple seasons with SUNY, Murphy would get a call from one of his protégés to become a Division 1 coach. The thing that surprised Tom Murphy about the call wasn’t the offer; it was the person on the other end.
The man in question, Bill Quinn, was an assistant coach at Hamilton until he moved on to Northeastern. Quinn wanted Murphy to bring his expertise to his bench, allowing his team to get a taste of what one of the best college basketball coaches has to offer.
Quin’s initial offer was for a year, but that partnership blossomed into 17 years of working together. Despite being on the bench for over 70 years now, Murphy just doesn’t seem to get tired of it. Even when asked about his 17 years there, he initially thought that he would just be going there for two or three years at best.
Despite pushing his mid-80s, Tom Murphy is still working as the basketball development coordinator at Northeastern. He still likes to be on the bench when his team is playing and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. The best part about Murphy is that he doesn’t have some secret formula.
Murphy has been very vocal about his “secret technique” to seemingly unlimited success. He always says that there is no secret formula, and all of it is just hard work. His players need to be willing to work hard and go the distance.
Throughout his high school career, Murphy has managed to rack up an impressive 760 wins. And even when he was with Northeastern as an assistant, his team was able to rack up an impressive 260 wins.
But despite seeing 1020 wins in his very impressive career, the wins were never what he focused on. He says that as long as the people are working hard and giving it their all, the gains usually take care of themselves.
And like a true legend, he says that he’ll coach another 20 years if he can.