Aaron Murphy was sitting on the bleachers at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships, not even thinking about the awards ceremony that was taking place in front of him.
“One of the other coaches and I were chatting and I think both of our minds were strayed away from the announcements that were going on,” Murphy said. “Then they said my name and that really just caught me off guard.”
Murphy, the coach of the women’s gymnastics team, won the ECAC Coach of the Year award at the ECAC Championships on March 23. It was the second time in his seven years as coach that he won the award.
“I’m just very honored. I’m very proud of my team,” Murphy said. “It’s very humbling too. Overall it is probably the proudest I’ve been all season.”
Murphy was named coach of the year despite the fact that the Owls only managed six wins throughout the season.
Several times throughout the season Murphy had to adjust his lineup due to injuries. The Owls won eight weekly ECAC awards and came in fourth at the ECAC Championships.
Still, the award was a bit of a shock to Murphy and the team.
“My first reaction was surprise,” senior Jean Alban said. “None of us were really expecting it because we didn’t have our best season, but we had a lot of girls taken out of meets. Our lineups always changed and [Murphy] always knew how to react to that and he put up the best lineup that he could in every meet.”
“I think he worked with what he had,” she added. “We had our best meet at the ECAC Championships and we had our top girl on floor and vault injured in the training session.”
“I told the team I truly believe that I received this award really because of such a great team that I have this year.”
—Aaron Murphy / coach
Murphy credited his team as the reason for his win.
“I told the team that I truly believe that I received this award really because of such a great team that I have this year,” Murphy said. “We didn’t win [a] conference or anything like that, but I think our team was just noticed by everyone in the conference on how steadily we climbed throughout the entire year. We started with a really low score at the George Washington Invite to start the season, and then we did nothing but increase our score all the way to the very end.”
Temple ended its season with a season high team score performance of 192.175 at the ECAC Championships, the only team at the championships to score a season-high to finish out the year.
Even though students on the team were a little surprised in Murphy winning the award, they said he was fully deserving of the accolade.
“I know our team had a little bit of a rough year starting out,” freshman Mary Kate Walch said. “But by his encouragement, and he just continued to push us to keep our attitudes positive and I really think that’s why we ended on such a hard note, so I think that he definitely earned the award.”
“I think it’s a really great honor and it shows a lot on what we have going for the program,” junior Sylvie Borschel said. “I think he’s a great coach and that he helps all of us improve and he really knows how to motivate us on an individual level.”
Samuel Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.