Murphy Among Six Finalists for Navy Job
Murphy, who led the Crimson to a perfect 9-0 record and the Ivy League championship this fall, has also been rumored to be a candidate for openings at Vanderbilt and California. Murphy, however, has only interviewed for the Navy position.
In an interview with The Crimson on Tuesday, Harvard Athletic Director Robert L. Scalise said Murphy spoke to him about one vacancy he was exploring.
“I spoke to Tim after the season and we talked about one school,” Scalise said.
Scalise would not confirm that that school was Navy.
Speculation about Murphy’s future increased last Thursday when The Boston Globe reported that he had already visited Annapolis twice for interviews, and that he would be offered the position during a third meeting last weekend. That scenario did not materialize.
Scalise told The Crimson he knew of only one interview, though he admitted there may have been others. He also said that while it’s “common courtesy” for other schools to request permission before speaking to coaches under contract, it is not required and no one has asked him for any such permission.
A story in Tuesday’s Annapolis Capital said that Murphy had met with Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk for a third interview on Sunday, as well as meeting him in Boston recently. The same story called Murphy “the leading candidate.”
The Navy job opened up midway through the season when Gladchuk fired head coach Chuck Weatherbie, and named assistant Rick Lantz as the interim coach for the rest of the year. Last week Gladchuk, formerly the athletic director at Boston College in the early 1990s, named several finalists he was considering, and Murphy was one of them.
The 45-year old Murphy, in his eighth year as coach of Harvard, would probably make a good fit for Navy. That school went 0-10 this season and has only won one of its last 21 games. Gladchuk is reportedly looking for a coach to open up the offense, and Murphy—who turned the 2001 football team into one of the most prolific scoring offenses in Harvard history—shares a similar philosophy. It would also be a return for Murphy to the Division I-A level. Before coming to Harvard, Murphy coached at the University of Cincinnati for seven years.
When asked if he’d be surprised if Murphy was coaching elsewhere next season, Scalise gave a mixed reaction.
“I don’t know if I’d be surprised,” he said, before adding, “but...I don’t know if I’d not be surprised either.”
That sort of mystery surrounding Murphy’s future has been pervasive in the last week. Murphy has been on the road recruiting and has declined requests for interviews, while Gladchuk could not be reached for comment. Sources say Murphy could be hired in the next week, but that Gladchuk could wait a few weeks and interview other candidates as well.
Several members of the Harvard football team who talked to The Crimson also expressed ignorance of the coaching situation.
“As far as the team goes, we are not really talking about it,” senior quarterback Neil Rose wrote in an e-mail. “But [we] should know something by Friday.”
Most of the players haven’t seen Murphy since the season ended, but he is scheduled to return from a recruiting trip at the end of the week.
“I haven’t seen [Coach Murphy] since the Monday after the Yale game,” junior defensive back Niall Murphy said. “Nobody knows anything more than anyone else. And anyway, Coach would never talk to us about this kind of thing.”
It seems only Murphy knows what Murphy’s future is.
“What we’re trying to do is to tell Tim that we want him to continue,” Scalise said. “I think when you have a situation with someone’s career, it’s really a private family matter. It’s about what’s in his interest.”
With reports having said that Murphy would have signed by last week, or early this week, speculation is mounting. As each day passes, however, the chances of Murphy going to Annapolis may lessen.
Georgia Southern coach Paul Johnson has also been mentioned as one of the six finalists for the Navy position. But since the Eagles are still playing, Gladchuk would have to wait until Georgia Southern’s season ends before interviewing Johnson.
Last week, The Tennessean reported that Murphy was a possible candidate for the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, but he has not been interviewed for the position. Reports last month also named Murphy among the list of coaches who might replace Bob Davie at Notre Dame , but that now appears unlikely.
—Staff writer Rahul Rohatgi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyson E. Hubbard contributed to the reporting of this story.