As Head Coach Sean Miller and Arizona basketball prepare for the upcoming season, they will welcome back a familiar face to their coaching staff this season: Jack Murphy. Murphy returns to the Wildcats, where he worked for eight years under the tutelage of famed coach Lute Olson in roles ranging from team manager to director of operations.
"Murphy’s may be the perfect coach to come here at the perfect time. The reason why I say is that he’s someone who has head-coached," Miller said. "We’ve had several head coaches who have come here and become assistants, and they all bring a wealth of experience. Then you have the opportunity to be the assistant and he can really be a great one, because you see things differently."
During that time, Murphy was able to work with the following Arizona legends: Luke Walton, Richard Jefferson, Andre Iguodala, Mike Bibby, Miles Simon, Michael Dickerson, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Wright, Channing Frye and Hassan Adams. The Wildcats reached a .751 winning percentage and also won three Pac-10 Championships and one conference tournament, according to Arizona Athletics.
Additionally, Murphy helped coach Olson and the Wildcats to reach the NCAA tournament in all eight of those seasons, which resulted in two Elite Eight matchups in those eight years and one final four appearance.
Last season, Murphy was the head coach of NAU's men's basketball team.
“The great part about Arizona Basketball is that you never leave the family," Murphy said to Arizona Athletics. "You’re just returning home after a long vacation to get to work to help [Head] Coach Miller achieve all the goals he has set for Arizona. I just can’t wait to get started."
Murphy's former players had nothing but great things to say about their time while playing under him. Richard Jefferson, now an 18-year NBA veteran and current basketball analyst for YES Network, FS1, ESPN and Pac-12 Network, was one of the players to comment on his return.
“Having Murph back at Arizona is fantastic,” Jefferson told Arizona Athletics. “His loyalty, high character and basketball knowledge are going to be a tremendous asset to Sean and our program! I couldn’t be more excited today, and for the future of Arizona Basketball.”
Jefferson was echoed by former Arizona teammate and current head coach of the Sacramento Kings, Luke Walton, who provided his own thoughts on his former college basketball coach.
“Murph was there when I was a freshman at Arizona when we lost the 2001 National Title, and there in 2003 when we lost in the Elite Eight. He helped prepare me for the NBA Draft, and has been there for me ever since,” Walton said to Arizona Athletics. “When I think of Wildcat basketball, and what that means, I think of Jack Murphy. He will do a great job for Sean, and my family and I will be rooting for our 'Cats!”
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