Bishop McCort reached back to its past but maintained a connection to the present in hiring its new head boys basketball coach.
The Crushers named Jerry Murphy to the job on Saturday.
Murphy started at point guard on McCort’s PIAA 1985 state runner-up squad and was part of teams that won three District 6 titles and went 78-15 under then coach Tim Koshute.
More recently, Murphy served the past five years as a McCort assistant coach, heading the freshman team that went 16-5 and won a LHAC championship in 2013.
“McCort is a great program. I have such passion for the place,” Murphy said on Saturday afternoon. “I’m just ready to start getting to work.”
The 27th head coach in Bishop McCort boys basketball history, Murphy replaces Pat Hollern, who recently left for a position at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. Hollern had a 166-69 record in nine seasons at McCort, including four District 6 titles. The Crushers went 19-9 and won the LHAC in 2013.
“Our strengths are that defensively we’re a hard-nosed team,” Murphy said. “We work hard. Pat Hollern and his staff were fantastic. This team was ready every night when we stepped on the floor.”
Murphy said he’ll continue to rely on defense. The new head coach said the Crushers will work at a fast pace.
“It’s going to be uptempo. We want to press people,” Murphy said. “Our defense will force turnovers and create offense. We want to make the other team uncomfortable every night when they’re handling the ball.
“We have six or seven returning lettermen. They’ve played significant time. They’re all good athletes and hard-working kids. It’s easier to work with good kids.”
McCort Acting Principal D.A. Gardill said in a news release that Murphy is a solid addition.
“Jerry is an extremely upbeat person who brings a great deal of positive energy to the job and will have an excellent rapport with the young men on the basketball team,” Gardill said. “We are excited to have him lead our program. He will be a tremendous ambassador for our school.”
Murphy lettered three years in basketball, football and baseball at McCort. In basketball, he holds the school record for most assists in a single season with 243 in 1985. His 302 career assists rank fifth all-time at McCort.
Murphy hopes to build on the accomplishments of a long line of successful coaches.
“It started back in the Joe Majer and Leroy Leslie eras,” he said. “Excellence has been back to the 1950s and 1960s. Coach Koshute had a lot of success with us. Coach Hollern continued that. The bar has been set high. We expect to work hard and compete every night. We just have to play hard.”