Remember two days ago when we were freaking out over this news? Cease the freaking, because Rob Murphy and Eastern Michigan announced that, yes, the Orlando Magic tried to pry him away, but after some consideration he decided to stick with what he's doing in Ypsilanti.
Here's what Murphy tweeted alongside the news he was staying put:
As fate would have it, Murph status appears to be at an all time high, imperfect time to say goodbye...— Rob Murphy (@robmurphyEMU) August 16, 2012
Oh! That was so close to iambic pentameter!
As a purveyor of the MAC, this is great news. You always want to keep your Coach of the Year in the conference. And it probably didn't make sense to leave now.
For one, it's August and the season starts in two months, which would've left the program in disarray at a bad time. It could have been his words "this is not a stepping stone for me," which he told reports and EMU faculty members on his announcement speech in April 2011. It could have been his buyout of $210,000, probably too rich of a price for him or the Magic. Throw any of the other reasons out there, and believe what you will about reaffirming a commitment to the school ... but that was probably the deal-breaker.
OK, so he's staying after almost leaving. We can now compare Murphy to Billy Donovan as great coaches who decided to go to the Magic then decided not to go to the Magic. Then again ... maybe there never was a deal in place, although CBS and MLive did report that a deal was going to happen. I'd like to believe that Murphy said yes, then thought it over, then decided it was in his best interests (and probably EMU's) if he coaches this year out.
Other coaches are going to absolutely use this against him in recruiting. Any MAC coach can say, sure, you can play for Murphy, but he'll probably be gone by your sophomore year. However, the coaching continuity is always in flux that Murphy is no more liable to leave the conference than someone else. Heck, in two weeks John Groce went from good mid-major to the hottest thing on the market. Any up-and-coming coach could be a desirable replacement for a Horizon League or Atlantic 10 or Big Ten. It's his word against theirs, and in actuality Murphy didn't go anywhere. Plus, who knows how many offers are thrown at college coaches, MAC or otherwise, for other opportunities.
And I have to say, EMU handled this pretty well. They addressed the rumors, put them to bed, and are moving onward. As for Graham Couch, who broke the news on Tuesday, I'm sure his source is reliable and might have been correct at the time. It's easy to say now but in retrospect Couch is not an Eastern Michigan or even MAC beat writer, so he probably "fell into one" here with one of his existing contacts from the Western Michigan beat.
And Eastern basketball is again in good hands. Boy, that was a scary couple of days where the MAC West favorite became a team that wasn't postseason eligible.