Newly named women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy did not have a typical birthday celebration this year. He did not receive a typical birthday gift, either.
On Sept. 22, Murphy picked up the phone, not to receive another happy birthday wish, but to receive news that he had been named the Owls’ coach.
The promotion came after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach to former Owls coach Ken Anderson, who left the program after a 20-year tenure. Prior to his time with the women’s squad, Murphy spent the 2001-02 season as an assistant
coach for the Temple men’s team.
In what will be his first year at the helm, Murphy understands there will be some adjusting to the responsibilities that come along with being coach.
“In the gym, the responsibilities are the same,” Murphy said. “However, it is outside the gym where I find the biggest differences.”
I am involved in a lot more paperwork and have a greater amount of responsibilities in those areas. These past couple weeks have really given me a taste of what coach Anderson went through for all those years.”
However, Murphy attributes an easier transition to the role of head coach primarily because of his familiarity with the university. That familiarity stems from being a four-year letter winner for the men’s gymnastics team from 1997 to 2001. He served as team captain his senior season.
“Being here as an alum and as a former assistant coach has made it a heck of a lot easier,” Murphy said. “I think if I had gone to another school to be a head coach, the adjustments would have been a lot tougher.”
A change at the top will undoubtedly
bring changes for the program as a whole as well. Since taking over, Murphy
said he has already implemented a twice-weekly morning workout sessions to the team’s training regimen.
Murphy is also altering the squad’s travel policy. NCAA rules state that only 15 competitors are allowed to be deemed active for team competition although the roster may consist of more athletes. In this case, the Owls fit into that category.
Therefore when the Owls hit the road this season, they will only take 15 performers.
“In past years the entire team would travel,” Murphy said. “Now I’m going to make it so that only the 15 competitors travel. I feel it will make the team strive for excellence in the gym and then in turn that will carry over to the actual competition.”
Murphy said he feels raising the level of inner-squad competition will have a lasting impact on the achievement of the team’s short-term and long-term goals.
The new coach has set some lofty expectations for his team this season as well as in years to come.
“Our conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, is the largest conference in the country with nine teams,” Murphy said. “We are going to shoot to finish in the top three this year and go to the postseason.”
The lofty expectations are not limited to Murphy himself. Temple University Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw expressed similar sentiments.
“Aaron is the perfect person to take over the Temple women’s gymnastics program,” Bradshaw said.
“I definitely take it as a compliment coming from the Athletic Director himself,” Murphy said. “I feel great knowing that he is behind me and has high hopes for me and the program.” One common goal held by every team is to qualify individual team members to the CAA Regionals. Murphy aspires to take it all the way.
“Long term wise, hopefully one year we can qualify the entire team to regionals,” added Murphy. “I’m going to give it my all to show people what I can do for this school. I want to show the people of this university that women’s gymnastics is going to strive for excellence and success”.
Mike Fiscus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.