ST. CHARLES – The excitement over being named the new head girls basketball coach at St. Charles East hasn't waned for Michael Murphy.
"I'm still just as excited," Murphy said with a quick laugh. "The first thing that I did was I tried to jot some things down...the thank-you's [and congratulations] keep pouring in from my basketball family members to-to-speak."
East Athletic Director Michael Sommerfeld announced the new hire on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
Murphy, an assistant varsity coach in the boys basketball program the past four seasons, is succeeding Aubree Schuett, who stepped down after three seasons as girls head coach earlier this month.
"First and foremost, my goal is to create a culture of caring," Murphy said. "I want the girls to care about one another as teammates. I want them to care about the program. I want them to care about the school and the community."
"It's really important to me to empower these young women into becoming strong, confident young adults," Murphy continued. "There are challenges being a female in this country. I need to instill a certain level of grit in them so they can go ahead and overcome any obstacles. And, believe in themselves that they can achieve any goal that they set out for themselves."
Murphy comes with an extensive basketball resume – one that traces back to eighth grade – where he and boys basketball coach Pat Woods played basketball against one another.
Their basketball pathways continued to intertwine throughout high school.
"Pat went to Fenwick High School his first two years. I went to Morton High School my freshman year," Murphy said. "Pat transferred to Morton at the end of his sophomore year, and at the end of my freshman year, I transferred to Brother Rice...the guys that [Pat] played with his junior and senior year of high school, I played with them my freshman year. That's how our paths kind of connected."
They later became teammates and roommates at Illinois Institute of Technology for one season before Woods transferred to Morton Junior College for his sophomore season.
Murphy ended up playing and staying all four years at ITT. He eventually became an assistant coach for Woods' staff for four years.
"When he first came in, he was our defensive guy and I was the offensive guy," Woods said. "The last two years, we kind of flipped that role. Obviously, he's capable of coaching both sides of the ball. In talking with him, I know he has a good vision of what he wants to accomplish and what he thinks will work with the girls that he has returning."
Last season, the boys team enjoyed a fruitful season that saw a share of the DuKane Conference title and a regional final appearance.
"Last year is a prime example of things that I can take away from Pat," Murphy said. "Not necessarily emulating the style of play how we played last year, but it's the how he saw the upcoming team, the talent that we had and was able to identify the best style of play for us to give us the best chance at success."
"I have 27 years of coaching experience," Murphy continued. "I've coached at every single level. I've worked with some amazing people throughout my life. I had never coached that way before on offense or defense...[he showed] the ability to look in the mirror and be like 'This is not how I'm going to play because this is how I've always done it. What is going to give us the best chance at success and try and come up with a style of play that suits your personnel?'"
The Saints' girls team went 8-24 last season, but is expected to return a significant number of contributors that were able to get vast varsity minutes from a mixture of sophomores and juniors.
Upcoming junior Torrie Kortan leads that group, but the Saints will also likely feature a rotation consisting of Leah Griffin, Emma Yakey, Liv Kiefer, Makenna Brown and Gabby Schmidt for roles moving forward.
"There is a lot of youth in the program that actually saw action on the varsity level last year, and that's definitely an advantage," Murphy said.