Where Are They Now? Tod Murphy

Where Are They Now?

In the fall of 1989, Tod Murphy was hoping to make the roster of the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves. He made that team and went on to have three productive seasons with the Wolves.

Fast forward to 2005 and Tod Murphy is still involved in basketball, currently as an assistant coach with his alma mater, University of California-Irvine. Murphy was one of the most prolific players in UC-Irvine history and still ranks second on the Anteaters all-time list with 1,778 points and 837 rebounds.

After playing overseas and in the CBA, Murphy became a member of the Timberwolves’ original starting five against Seattle on Nov. 3, 1989 and averaged career-highs of 8.3 points and 6.9 rebounds that season. He looks back fondly at that year.

“I remember a lot of the firsts,” Murphy said. “The first game played at the Metrodome against the Lakers (preseason), the first regular season game at Seattle, the first regular season home game against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and the first win in franchise history against the Charles Barkley-led 76ers. In that game against the 76ers, we were leading early in the game and I was doing a pretty good job of defending Barkley. We were standing on the free throw lane and he leans over and says to me, "Hey Murph, you're doing a nice job, but I'm going to have to take over now.” The next time down the floor he came right at me, hit the shot and drew the foul. I guess that was Charles' way of introducing me to the league. Late in the game I was able to draw a charge on Sir Charles to help secure the win, so I guess on this particular occasion I got the last laugh.”

Murphy also recalls an amusing offcourt incident. “On a road trip to Washington, Gary Leonard made it rain in my hotel room. He was in the room above mine and he decided to steam his clothes in the bathroom. He turned on the bathtub faucet and proceeded to put on his headphones and fall asleep. By the time security went into his room, the water was running down the walls in my room. I love the rain, but not in my room!”

Murphy said he learned a lot from former Wolves head coach Bill Musselman and recalls Musselman’s legendary competitiveness.

“I'll never forget coach challenging Gerald Glass to a race on a line drill. It was the end of practice and Gerald was pretty tired, but I still didn't think coach had a chance. I don't think Gerald took it nearly as seriously as coach did. Gerald had to dive across the line at the end to keep from losing to coach. You could definitely see the bulldog in coach coming out in that race.”

While California is where Murphy makes his home with his wife Kelly and their daughter, Annie Jane, he thinks highly of the Twin Cities.

“I think that the Twin Cities may be one of the most underrated cities in the U.S. If you take away that one week during the winter when the temperature doesn't go above zero degrees, it is one of the best areas to live. And the support the team received when I played there was unbelievable. I loved playing in Minnesota.”

Now, as an assistant coach for the Anteaters, Murphy still enjoys being around the game and esoecially the players.

“I originally got into coaching because I love the sport, but the thing that I get the most satisfaction out of are the relationships with the players. When I retire from coaching (hopefully in about 30 years) it will be more important for me to be surrounded by my former players than to be surrounded by championship banners.”