Bill Murphy graduated from Father Judge High School.
He now sees himself as a Ryan guy.
Murphy, a 1996 graduate of Judge, was named interim football coach of the Raiders on Sunday after former coach Chris Lampart and the school mutually agreed to part ways. It came after the Raiders lost to Archbishop Carroll 40-6 in a Catholic League opener on Saturday.
It was a tough start for the Raiders, who like all teams in the Catholic League found out they were playing a few weeks ago after the season had originally been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Lampart was hired prior to last year after the school dismissed Frank McArdle, who guided Ryan to a 10-win season in his final campaign. He’s now the coach at Judge.
Murphy never figured he’d be the head coach at Ryan this year. In fact, he wasn’t even sure he’d be living in Philadelphia until he decided to bring his son, McDermott, up from Georgia to attend Ryan.
Now, he’s calling the shots on the sideline.
“It’s a crazy story, I love Philadelphia, but I’ve been in Georgia with my wife (Amanda) and my son, and my daughter, who is a sports management major at Georgia Southern University,” said Murphy, who was a quarterback at Judge. “My uncle is Joe McDermott, I love Philadelphia and my son wanted to come here, play baseball here, he just loved it. So I asked around, and was told the best guy to play for would be Mike Lake, so we picked Ryan.
“I love Ryan. I love everything about the atmosphere. I’m friends with the president Mike Barnett, I coached Joey (Zeglinski) and his brothers when they were growing up. So when we got here, I wanted to help out. I wanted to do whatever I could, because I remember Ryan was the best football program out there when I was in school. I got my brains beat out a couple of times by them when I was at Judge.”
Murphy knows his work is cut out for him.
Ryan won one game a season ago, and failed to win a game in Red Division play. Of course, the schedule was brutal. The Raiders finished 1-10, but lost three games to state championship teams (St. Joe’s Prep and twice to Archbishop Wood), and also lost to Downingtown East, Roman Catholic and Neumann-Goretti, which were also among the best teams in the area.
Still, it wasn’t the type of year the Raiders had hoped for, and Murphy hopes things can change.
“Growing up, Ryan was the best program around and we want to get it back to that,” Murphy said. “It’s not going to be overnight. I know that. It’s a process. We have to build the program back up. It’s not easy, but Ryan is such a great school, it has a lot to offer and we have to show everyone that.
“Look around at the school. Mike Barnett has done a great job, he was a former player, he was Frank Wycheck’s fullback. Joey is doing a great job with the basketball team, taking it to another level, and he’s a great, young athletic director. (He was) the all-time leading rusher, his family has a big name around here, they don’t want to see the program do anything but succeed. And the principal, Joe McFadden, he’s very supportive.”
Murphy had been coaching in different leagues in Georgia, helping out with both football and baseball, where his son is a highly touted catcher, who was named after his dad’s uncle and longtime Judge baseball coach Joe McDermott.
Once he arrived in Philadelphia, he was hired as Lampart’s quarterbacks coach, and when the job opened, he was happy to step into the head job.
“Chris is a great coach, a great young mind who knows a lot about football,” Murphy said. “I loved working with him. He came from Wood, you know they’re a great program, and he had a lot of great ideas. He’s a great young coach.”
Murphy hopes he’s able to take the program to the next level.
“As a parent, I always try to teach my kids to do the right thing, and I’m going to coach the same way I parent,” Murphy said. “There is a lot of talent on this team. We have young guys and great senior leadership. I think it’s going to be a tough year, but they’re tough kids.
“We’re going to represent the community well. I love this community. The Ryan community is incredible. We want to give them a football team to be proud of, and it’s going to take a lot of work.”
Murphy anticipates being a key figure at the school.
Not only is he the head football coach and the father of its newest baseball player, he will be around the school quite a bit.
“We were talking about bringing me in as the athletic recruiting coordinator and help out with finding talent and good families that want to be a part of something special,” Murphy said. “Just help Joey out where he needs it, because he’s very busy. We were out at a football game today between Bensalem and Fox Rok just getting out there, meeting good families and letting them know about what we are.”
Murphy won’t judge this season based off wins and losses. But he will look for improvement every time they take the field.
“We’ll get back to basics,” Murphy said. “Go back to the old Ryan way. Smashmouth football, but be able to pass the ball when we need to and build the team up. Bring their football IQ up as well.
“I’m fully vested. I’m going to be hard on them and set a foundation for them. I’m going to be here to see them out and get them on the right track.”