St. Charles East names Murphy new coach
St. Charles East didn't have to look far to find its new girls basketball coach.
Michael Murphy, who spent the last four years as an assistant boys coach to his college roommate Patrick Woods at St. Charles East, is moving over to the girls.
Murphy replaces Aubree Schuett, who stepped down earlier this month after going 27-62 the last three years.
Murphy's oldest daughter McKenna is a junior who was the Saints' team manager the past two years. His younger daughter Brooklyn is a rising eighth-grader who Murphy has coached growing up.
That -- plus the familiarity with the program -- made this an easy decision.
"I am excited to spend all that extra time with my oldest daughter," Murphy said. "I've had an up close and personal look at the program the last four years. The seasons overlap, we often practiced side by side, there's girls-guys doubleheaders. I'm a basketball fan period. I don't really look at gender."
Murphy played basketball at Brother Rice and at college at Illinois Tech. He got his first assistant coaching job at St. Rita at 22 years old, and his other assistant jobs included a stop at the University of New Orleans.
Murphy and his wife Alisha eventually settled in St. Charles. He became a head boys coach at Vernon Hills.
The commute wasn't easy, and Murphy enjoyed the past four years coaching in St. Charles side-by-side with Woods, a college teammate.
"We have known each other forever," said Murphy, a counselor. "It was an amazing four-year experience. It had a lot to do with me pursing this job. The opportunity to be a head coach and stay in the community was important. The fact I had been part of the St. Charles East athletic department, I enjoyed that experience, I live in the community. The fact we are embedded into this community made it very appealing."
A former Chicago Sky season ticket holder, Murphy said he's excited about coaching girls. Murphy wants to help his players improve as individual players so the team can grow collectively. He stressed the importance of creating confident players.
He will have several players back who were thrown into the varsity fire the last couple years as underclassmen in a difficult DuKane Conference. In the past few years, Geneva, Lake Park, Wheaton Warrenville South, Batavia and Wheaton North have all played in sectionals -- Geneva and Lake Park both making it to state.
"There is a lot of young talent that is returning to the team," Murphy said. "Not only are there some players that are returning, they received a lot of varsity game experience. The conference is a meat grinder with teams like Geneva, St. Charles North, Batavia and so forth. We are not going to back down from anybody. I hope the girls take the floor every time believing they can win as a result of the work they put in in the off-season and the practice court."
His first off-season, however, promises to be unusual.
"I wish I knew what the summer looked like," Murphy said. "It definitely poses a challenge. Those 25 contact days the IHSA allows coaches to have in the summer, I was really looking forward to those. Any coach is but as a new coach coming in, I really hope we get some time together. If the IHSA says summer is canceled, it's not an option, we will try to figure out something virtually."