In a passing of the torch rarely seen more than once a generation, the Harvard football team will be turned over to University of Cincinnati coach Tim Murphy today.
Murphy will be only the team's fourth coach since 1951, following the 23-year term of outgoing coach Joe Restic.
Murphy, a 37-year-old native of Kingston, Mass., broke the news to his Cincinnati captains yesterday at a 9:30 a.m. meeting, according to two of the Bearcats' captains.
"Basically, he told us that he had accepted the job at Harvard and that he thought his work was done here," Cincinnati senior Nate Dingell said. "It's a great opportunity for him--I wish him the best."
"We had a meeting with him today and he said he was leaving [to go to Harvard]," senior Jason Coppess said last night. "He said he felt that the Harvard job would be in his best interests."
Both captains reported that Murphy will be in Cambridge today for a press conference announcing his hiring.
Harvard Sports Information Director John Veneziano confirmed that Harvard is holding a press conference this afternoon concerning the new football coach, but refused to comment on who the new coach would be.
"We're not saying anything yet--it will be announced at the conference," he said.
Murphy, a former Boston University, Brown and Lafayette assistant and two-year head coach at Maine, had coached Cincinnati for the past five seasons, leading his team to a 17-37-1 overall record. When he took over, the Bearcats were on NCAA probation and had not had a winning season since 1982. After going 1-9-1 and 1-10 in Murphy's first two seasons, though, the team improved to 4-7 in 1991 and 3-8 in 1992 before going 8-3 this season and flirting with an invitation to the Independence Bowl.
"He's a great coach and you guys are lucky to get him," Dingell said. "He accomplished pretty much everything he wanted to accomplish
Although rumors have been swirling of theCincinnati coach's hiring since a few days beforethe Harvard-Yale game, the decision was not madefinal until last week, The Boston Globe reportedyesterday.
In the last week, Murphy has reportedlywithdrawn his application for a head coaching jobat Duke, where he was said to be one of thefinalists, and discussed contract extensions withUniversity of Cincinnati President John Stager,according to Cincinnati Sports InformationDirector for Football John Hamel.
"I don't know if any offers were tendered, butit was definitely discussed," Hamel said.
At his team's end-of-season banquet Saturdaynight, Murphy hinted strongly that his departurewas imminent, thanking all the staff and playerswho had made his stint at Cincinnati "the bestfive years of his life."
"We all had pretty much heard that he would beleaving, and then he hinted very strongly that hewould be in his speech," Dingell said. "He didn'ttell us that explicitly, but you could tell by theway he talked."