Dec. 10, 2011
By Will Redmond
Every basketball program in the nation publishes and distributes a media guide each year. At first glance, the reader notices its strong graphic design and coaches bios, as well as information on that year's squad. But if you look closely at the 2011-12 Tennessee basketball media guide you just might find something you hadn't expected.
Junior forward Rob Murphy's bio page looks much like the others. His stats are listed as well as a review of his high school playing days at Nashville's Brentwood Academy. But there is one fact about Murphy that is uncommon... Murphy is a coach, too.
In the summer of 2009, Murphy received a phone call from a friend that would change his "basketball life" forever.
"A friend's dad called me and asked me to coach in a summer basketball league," said Murphy.
Like a match to flint, Murphy's coaching career had sparked.
"I coached a couple teams and then used some of the guys I had to form our own AAU team," said Murphy. "We ordered the jerseys and made the schedule and did everything."
Becoming the head coach of the Nashville Blackhawks AAU team was not something that Murphy had planned on doing, but the opportunity to pour into the lives of younger basketball players could not be passed up.
"The most important thing to me is to instill confidence in them as far as basketball, so it can carry over into life with the mindset to succeed," said Murphy. "When they do take on those mindsets, you can see it pay off on the court and in their lives."
Simply put, the goal in basketball is to win. But as any great coach understands, there is more to the game than what is in the wins and losses columns. Murphy cites that seeing his player's meet personal goals is also very rewarding.
"I've had several kids who had never made their school teams before making their team after playing with us. That's very rewarding for me," said Murphy.
Murphy is, in fact, training the next generation of players and future coaches. With well over a decade of basketball experience, Murphy draws much of his coaching styles from his former coaches.
"I've played for many different coaches, from AAU to high school to now college, and I feel like I've picked up on a lot of different styles, techniques, offenses and defenses," said Murphy. "I feel like I can pretty effectively take the best from what I've learned and apply it to any situation with these kids."
Murphy is not sure what his future holds. The 6-8, 230 pound, logistics major would like to enter the business world following his graduation from Tennessee, but does not count coaching out of the question.
"Coaching is what I love to do. I definitely want to find a way to get more involved in that way and maybe make it more of a full-time career later on," said Murphy.
Needless to say, Murphy became a Volunteer long before stepping onto the court at Thompson-Boling Arena. His love of the game and passion for teaching young people are undeniable. The Volunteer spirit is clearly lived out through Rob Murphy.