Clovis News: Sports

Murphy to take year off as Clovis East football coach

Clovis East High's Tim Murphy, the Central Section's most successful football coach of the decade, will step down for one year to slow the pace and spend more time with his 7-year-old daughter.

"I just feel I can't breathe," said Murphy, who informed his team of the decision at noon Tuesday. "I need to get my head above water and have a year where I'm not held to 70 hours a week to football."

Murphy -- 77-22 with two section titles and two runners-up, and six Tri-River Athletic Conference championships in eight seasons with the Timberwolves -- said he will remain director of sport, the title Clovis Unified gives head coaches, and that he will return to coach the varsity in 2010.

But while continuing to oversee Clovis East-area football through seventh grade this spring and fall, he will turn the varsity over to Ryan Reynolds, who has been with Murphy since he arrived from Ygnacio Valley-Concord in 2001. Murphy said he will not attend practices, and that he and Reynolds haven't decided whether he will have sideline presence at games.

Murphy said the plan -- one that he's been considering for a couple of years -- was accelerated when his only child, Kennedy, fell and suffered a head injury two weeks ago. He said she was airlifted to an Oakland hospital to treat an injury that, ultimately, was diagnosed as a concussion. He said she has recovered.

"I have fought the fact that I haven't spent as much time with her as needed," Murphy said. "So it's time."

Clovis East principal Steve Martinez stands behind the decision.

"There's no way I would never support anyone in this situation," he said. "Any time there's an issue with family, you've got to support your employee and, in this case, I've got to support my football coach. Everyone at Clovis East and the district administration stands behind him."

Murphy, in the eight seasons at Clovis East, has never lost consecutive games while running the program's signature double-wing and I-wing offenses. And he said Reynolds will continue to operate the same attack.

He also said Reynolds' six-year role as defensive coordinator will be assumed by assistants Tim Randall and Mitch McDuff.