Mike Murphy enters his eighth season along the banks of the Hudson River and sixth under head coach Joe Alberici after spending his first two campaigns assisting legendary head coach Jack Emmer. Under his mentorship, the Black Knights have consistently ranked among the best defensive teams both in the Patriot League and nationally, while he has also guided some of the most prolific goalkeepers in Academy history.
Murphy has tutored the defense the last seven seasons and will continue in that role as defensive coordinator, as well as recruiting responsibilities along the East Coast.
Last season, under Murphy's direction, the Black Knights listed third in the Patriot League in scoring defense (9.31 gpg). Army held Syracuse to just eight goals in the Black Knights' 9-8 upset victory over the two-time defending national champions in the first round of last season's NCAA tournament. Murphy helped Bill Henderson win Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honors. Henderson also collected All-Patriot League first-team plaudits and was tabbed an NCAA All-American (Honorable Mention). Tim Henderson, Bill's younger brother, earned first-team honors as well. Bill Henderson and Army goalkeeper Tom Palesky both earned honorable mention All-America honors.
The 2009 campaign saw Army finish third in the Patriot League in scoring defense (9.06 gpg) while two members of the unit were named all-conference selections. Bill Henderson lauded first-team honors, while younger brother Tim Henderson landed on the second team in his first season with the squad.
In 2008, the Black Knights ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing only two teams to score more than 10 goals en route to a 7.13 goals per game average. First-team all-conference selection Adam Fullerton capped his career with third-team All-America honors and two-straight Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year awards and was recently selected one of two goalkeepers on the US National Team that will compete at the FIL World Championships this coming summer. The 2008 season was also highlighted by two of his defensemen, seniors Jay Larson and Craig Massie, being named All-Patriot League honorees.
In 2006, Murphy's molding of senior Matt Luyster was made complete as he was named an honorable mention All-American, the first All-American under Murphy's watch.
Luyster was a first-team All-Patriot League selection and the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference, while Nick Doerr earned second-team all-league honors as well. Murphy also guided Fullerton when he was pressed into starting duty early into his freshman season and watched him run off seven consecutive victories in the cage, setting an Academy record for consecutive wins by a plebe goalie.
In 2005, Army's man-down defense ranked 14th in the country, killing off 81 percent of opponents' EMOs. Goalkeeper Matt Darak also set an Academy record for saves in a single season as the Black Knights only allowed 165 goals during the campaign that saw Army qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
Murphy came to the Academy after spending two seasons at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he was in charge of the Big Red's defensive unit and face-off personnel. He also served as an assistant on Denison's football coaching staff and held a position in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation as an instructor.
Prior to his work at Denison, the University of New Hampshire graduate served as head assistant coach/defensive coordinator at Wingate University from 1999-2001. The Beverly, Mass., native helped the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Division III National Semifinal appearance in school history as the squad posted a 27-17 record in Murphy's three seasons on its sideline, while 14 players garnered All-Deep South honors. His 2001 defensive unit finished the season ranked among the national leaders in scoring defense (12th), winning percentage (7th) and goals-against average (10th).
Murphy also enjoyed one-year stints at Pfeiffer University and Merrimack College after his graduation from New Hampshire in the spring of 1996, where he was a three-year letterman for the then-Division I Wildcats.
Murphy and his wife Jennifer, who is an athletic trainer at Army, reside in Highland Falls, N.Y., with their newborn son, Colin.