DETROIT – The Motor City Cruise announced today that Rob Murphy has been named President and General Manager for the Detroit Pistons NBA G League affiliate. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The former collegiate head coach will oversee basketball operations for the team while using his deep connections within the Detroit community and administrative acumen to grow and oversee business operations for the franchise.
“Rob Murphy is the perfect person to lead the Motor City Cruise and we are pleased to welcome him to the Pistons organization,” said Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman for the Detroit Pistons. “His basketball knowledge is well documented and given that he was born and raised in Detroit, Rob’s relationships throughout the city and region will help drive business and growth opportunities for the future.”
Murphy, 47, joins the Pistons after spending the past 10 seasons as men’s head basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University. Murphy accumulated 166 wins at EMU and is the second all-time winningest coach in the program’s history. He led the Eagles to three 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances while building one of the most stifling defenses in college basketball during his tenure. Eastern Michigan won its first Mid-American Conference West Division Championship during Murphy’s first season (2011-12) and he was named MAC Coach of the Year and NABC District 14 Coach of the Year. Other highlights of his EMU coaching career included winning the Jamaican Classic Championship, the EMU Tip-Off Classic and defeating Big Ten foes, Michigan and Purdue. Murphy graduated 36 of 38 (95%) student-athletes while at EMU, the best academic showing in the program’s history, and philanthropically, he’s initiated a number of community programs through the Rob Murphy Foundation (The Reading Challenge, Gift of Sharing) tailored for under-served youth in the Ypsilanti and Detroit communities.
Murphy began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Kent State University and then spent seven years as an assistant coach under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University (2004-11). The Orangemen recorded a 180-67 record during his time at the school and made the postseason each year with five NCAA appearances and two NIT berths.
Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver noted that similar basketball philosophies will create great synergy and understanding as they work to build the Pistons and Cruise franchises in unison.
“Rob brings tremendous knowledge, creativity and leadership to our executive team,” said Weaver. “He’ll work collaboratively with both the basketball and business sides of the Pistons organization to ensure we have systems in place that maximize the development potential of the Cruise franchise.”
A graduate of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Murphy was a two-year starter on the basketball team and the team’s defensive player of the year as a senior. Following graduation, he returned to Detroit to begin his coaching career at Detroit Central H.S. as the associate head coach in 1996-98. Central won the state Class A championship in 1997-98 after finishing runner-up in 1996-97. Murphy then moved to become the head boy’s basketball coach at Crockett H.S. where they won three consecutive Class B District titles (2000-2002) and captured the state championship in 2000-01. He was named All-Metro Coach of the Year by the Detroit Free Press in the same season. Murphy’s Crockett teams compiled a 64-27 record over a four-year span.
“It’s an honor for me to join the Pistons organization and lead the newest professional sports franchise in Detroit, the Motor City Cruise,” said Murphy. “I thank Tom Gores for providing this opportunity and I’m excited to work with Arn, Troy, Dwane Casey, Mike Zavodsky and the rest of the leadership team in building long-term success on and off the court while fostering a culture that will help us achieve our collective goals.”