Mike Murphy has his Raiders on a roll.
The Colgate men's lacrosse head coach just completed his fourth season and already has posted a pair of Patriot League regular season championships, one postseason title and two trips to the NCAA tournament.
In 2015, Colgate tied Navy for regular season honors and then swept to the Patriot League championship on the Midshipmen's home field. The Raiders knocked off Army 11-8 in the title game.
Colgate in four seasons under Murphy has a 41-24 (.631) record that ties for the second-most wins over any four-year period in program history. The Raiders are 22-13 (.629) against Patriot League competition and twice have finished the season ranked among the nation's top 15.
Named to his first head coaching position on July 20, 2011, Murphy led the 2012 Raiders to a Patriot League regular-season title en route to the best campaign in program history. Colgate finished 14-4, including a 6-0 road mark, a 6-2 record against nationally-ranked oponents, and a win over undefeated No. 1 Massachusetts in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
The NCAA bid was Colgate's second postseason appearance and its first as an NCAA at-large recipient. The Raiders also secured their first tournament win and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
The 2012 team set a total of 29 individual and team records, including 13 program marks, 15 Patriot League records and one NCAA season mark with junior Robert Grabher attempting a total of 433 faceoffs in the season. Murphy also coached the first Colgate and Patriot League player to win the Tewaaraton Award with junior Peter Baum, who also received the Enners Award and set eight individual program and league records.
Murphy had five members named to the All-Patriot League teams, including 2012 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and the league's Rookie of the Year. He had two players named All-Americans, with Baum earning first-team honors and Jeff Ledwick landing a spot as honorable mention. Team records set during the season were the Colgate records for most points (365), goals (236) and assists (129) in a season, as well as most wins for a team and a first-year head coach (14), and the highest national ranking in program history with the No. 8 spot in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.
The team also broke Patriot League Tournament records for most team assists in a game (11), most two-game team points (45), total shots (84), man-up goals (6), and fastest back-to-back goals with five seconds in the championship game. Murphy was selected as an assistant coach for the North Team in the USILA/Lax World Division I-II North-South Senior All-Star Game.
The 2015 championship season saw the Raiders picked to finish fifth in the Patriot League before the year began but compile a 6-2 record that tied Navy for top honors. Colgate then swept past Bucknell and Army in the conference tournament for their first automatic berth since 2008.
All-Star performers from the team were Matt Clarkson and Ryan Walsh, who both earned USILA All-American honorable mention nods in addition to their All-Patriot League First Team and Patriot League All-Tournament Team status. Walsh also was named MVP of the Patriot League tournament. For the season, Clarkson led the Raiders with 30 assists and 51 points, while Walsh topped the squad with 33 goals to finish his career with 139 goals and 203 points. Those numbers placed second in both categories in the Colgate records book.
Other key figures were All-Patriot League Second Team members Matt Yeager, Cameron Williams and Brandon Burke. Rookie of the Year honors went to Anthony Abbadessa -- the third such Colgate honor in the last four seasons. Academically, Yeager and John Baker made the Academic All-Patriot League Team, and Yeager also picked up USILA Scholar All-America honors.
Murphy joined the Raiders after serving as an assistant coach at Army. In his seven seasons with the Black Knights, Army was consistently ranked among the best defensive teams both in the Patriot League and nationally under his mentorship, during which he also guided some of the most prolific goalkeepers in Academy history.
In the 2011 season, under his direction, Army placed third in the Patriot League in scoring defense (9.31 gpg). The Black Knights held Syracuse down during a 9-8 upset victory over the two-time defending national champions in the first round of 2010 NCAA tournament. Murphy helped Bill Henderson win Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Henderson also collected All-Patriot League First Team plaudits and was tabbed an NCAA All-American (Honorable Mention). Tim Henderson, Bill's younger brother, earned first-team honors as well. Bill Henderson and Army goalkeeper Tom Palesky both earned honorable mention All-America honors.
In 2009, Army finished third in the Patriot League in scoring defense (9.06 gpg), while two members of the unit were named all-conference selections. Bill Henderson lauded first-team honors, while younger brother Tim Henderson landed on the second team in his first season with the squad.
In 2008, the Black Knights finished sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing only two teams to score more than 10 goals en route to a 7.13 average. First-Team All-Conference selection Adam Fullerton capped his career with third-team All-America honors and two-straight Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year awards and was selected one of two goalkeepers on the U.S. National Team. The 2008 season also was highlighted by two of Murphy’s defensemen, seniors Jay Larson and Craig Massie, being named All-Patriot League honorees.
In 2006, Murphy's molding of senior Matt Luyster was made complete as he was named an honorable mention All-American, the first All-American under Murphy's watch.
Luyster was a first-team All-Patriot League selection and the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference, while Nick Doerr earned second-team all-league honors as well. Murphy also guided Fullerton when he was pressed into starting duty early into his freshman season and watched him run off seven consecutive victories in the cage, setting an Academy record for consecutive wins by a plebe goalie.
In 2005, Army's man-down defense ranked 14th in the country, killing off 81 percent of opponents' EMOs. Goalkeeper Matt Darak set an Academy record for saves in a season as the Black Knights allowed only 165 goals during the campaign that saw Army qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.
Murphy joined Army after spending two seasons at Division III Denison in Granville, Ohio, where he was in charge of the Big Red's defensive unit, goalies and faceoff personnel. He also served as an assistant on Denison's football coaching staff and held a position in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation as an instructor.
Prior to his work at Denison, the University of New Hampshire graduate served as head assistant coach/defensive coordinator at Wingate from 1999-2001. The Beverly, Mass., native helped the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Division II National Semifinal appearance in school history as the squad posted a 27-17 record in Murphy's three seasons on its sideline, while 14 players garnered All-Deep South honors. His 2001 defensive unit finished the season among the national leaders in scoring defense (12th), winning percentage (7th) and goals-against average (10th).
Murphy also enjoyed one-year stints at Pfeiffer and Merrimack after his graduation from the University of New Hampshire in the spring of 1996, where he was a three-year letterman for the Wildcats.
Murphy is a member of the USILA Division I All-American Committee as well as the USILA Division I Poll Committee. He serves as chair of the Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Committee, and also serves on the IMLCA Division I Coaches Advisory Board.
Murphy and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents of two children: son, Colin; and daughter, Dylan Emma.