The play is stopped abruptly at the blow of a whistle, the scoreboard indicating a tied game after the three minute run that reduced the 15 point deficit. The referee signals a timeout for the Spuds as the starters jog back to Coach Murphy, waiting with his clipboard, surrounded by the bench. Coach furiously scribbles plays and makes revisions to existing ones, his voice drowned out by the cheering in the gym.
New coach Matt Murphy has been in love with the game of basketball since 1992.
“I was 10 and I watched Christian Laettner at Duke beat Kentucky on a last second buzzer beater. They went on to win the National championship,” Murphy reminisced. “I’ve been a Duke fan ever since. I loved the energy of the crowd and the excitement of the game.”
But he didn’t go directly into coaching. Around the same time he became enamored with basketball, he began playing it as well, with his career as a player really taking off in high school. A Nordhoff High School alum, Murphy went to CIF with his team and holds 2 school records.
Although he had an impressive career in high school, he admits he wasn’t perfect. “My biggest hurdle [as a player] was my lack of athleticism. I wasn’t fast or quick and I didn’t jump well. I studied the game and my knowledge of the game allowed me to play faster than I was. I played and practiced a lot,” Murphy said.
In his senior year of high school, Murphy started coaching 5th through 8th graders in a program called Ojai Lightning, and he’s been coaching ever since, this year being his 18th at the high school level.
Now as the new boys basketball coach, Murphy hopes to strengthen the program and teach his players about the importance of putting in the time. “Basketball is a game you have to play and practice all the time. You can’t just play a couple months out of the year and expect results.”
“I have attended many coaching clinics. I study the game. I find something I like and research it. Then I try to adapt how I coach and what we do to my players abilities and talents.”
The impact that Murphy’s coaching has had in the short month that he’s had this team has made an incredible impact on new and returning members, all of whom already given opportunities to demonstrate their newly learned abilities in games.
“I have a family and a career and now I coach to give back. To help teach young men how to be a positive team player,” Murphy said. “How to be accountable, committed and hard working. How results come from hard work and dedication.”
Senior Captain Joshua Hsu has been on the team all four years of high school, and is excited about Coach Murphy this year.
“Coach Murphy is a great person and coach,” Joshua said. “He brings to the OVS sports community a unique and experienced perspective in basketball world. The season is only getting started, and we will see how the team’s performance reveals itself as we go along.”
With the confidence given to them by coach Murphy’s playbook, alongside coach Weidlich’s inextinguishable passion for the game, the boys are excited to pour their all into this season’s many games. And hopefully, to make a lasting impression in their ultimate year in the Condor league.
“Everything good in life is earned and to obtain it is difficult. But the best stuff in life is hard to get!” Murphy said. “I have a passion for it and hopefully my passion will bring about passion in others. Not only in basketball but other parts of life.”Share