Former Vol basketball player making difference as coach

Former Vol basketball player making difference as coach


6 Sports Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A group of 10th graders gathers at mid-court with their hands in a circle as they chanted, "1,2,3 toughness!" Leading the chant is a tall, 23-year-old, former Tennessee basketball player named Rob Murphy. And toughness is something Murphy knows all about.

How else to describe a guy who spent his college career on the end of the bench, without complaint, putting his work in during practice. Making the rest of the team better.

"There was a time, believe it or not, when I was the best player on the team," Murphy says. "Obviously, this past year at UT, I was not so I can reach down to the kid on the end of the bench whenever I'm coaching and say, hey, I've been where you are. I feel your pain."

Murphy, who spent three seasons as a Vol, is putting that experience to work for him, coaching two AAU basketball teams in Knoxville this summer and taking over as head coach at Concord Christian School in the fall.

"I've been there," says Murphy. "I've been through the struggles. It's really fun for me to be able to watch a kid get through that and get to the other side of that and just help him get where he wants to go."

Murphy's playing career ended at the massive, 20,000 seat Thompson-Boling Arena. Now, as a coach, if he wants to get back to the big time, he'll have to spend some time in much smaller venues. Places like Eagleton Middle School in Alcoa where his team has practiced. 

"I love it," Murphy says. "Same ball bounces, goal's still 10 feet off the floor. I'm having a great time."

And, while Murphy says he certainly wants to improve as a coach, he has no problem putting everybody else first.

For more information on The AAU program Murphy has started, go to To find out more about Concord Christian School, visit You can also follow Rob on twitter: @coachrobmurphy.

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