As expected, New Milford’s Board of Education approved John Murphy as its football coachWednesday night.
Murphy, 45, who coached 16 years and won three state championships at Mausk before resigning in December, will begin his new job Thursday morning. He was also hired as the school’s girls lacrosse coach and as a paraeducator at Schaghticoke Middle School.
Murphy could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. He takes over for Chuch Lynch, who resigned in December after nine seasons.
“We’re excited. I think we got a coach who will give us our best opportunity to be successful,” said New Milford athletic director Lance Pliego, who added that Murphy far outshone the position’s 10 other candidates throughout three rounds of interviews with administrators, parents and other members of the community.
“As we went through the interview process, we saw him as a guy who’s clearly — not just because of his history and his resume — somebody that had a lot of interest in our program, our town and becoming a part of our community.”
And the town’s equally excited. “Our players and a lot of people around town are anxious to get to know him,” Pliego said.
New Milford, which has been traditionally strong in wrestling and lacrosse, has had virtually no success in football.
New Milford has had just four winning seasons since 1994, its last was a 6-5 mark in 2008. Its best season was in 2001 when it went 8-3 and lost to Foran in the SWC championship game. As a boarderline Class LL/L school, it has never been to the state playoffs.
“I know the records and results didn’t show it, but I think we’ve had good coaching and good players, but I think we might have been one or two players away from being a solid football team,” Pliego said. “We just haven’t had the history. We haven’t been able to translate the mentality of our wrestling and lacrosse programs to football.”
Murphy, on the other hand, was 158-33-1 in 16 years at Masuk. His teams won six SWC championships, reached the playoffs 12 times and won three state titles in seven championship appearances.
“We’re hoping Coach Murphy will help get more players to come out for football and sell the program and change perceptions, get the kids to puff their chests out a bit more and have that confidence to win games,” Pliego said. “I don’t think we’re that far away. I know the kids are excited. They’ll find a coach who is passionate to get this turned around.”