BANGOR — Sean Murphy said becoming a head football coach at the collegiate level “has been a career ambition for me.”
That came to fruition for him on Wednesday when he was named to replace Niles Nelson as the head football coach Husson University.
Murphy, a 32-year-old Eliot native and Marshwood High School graduate, was the first-year associate head coach-defensive coordinator at the Bangor-based institution this past fall. He was also an assistant athletic director.
He will inherit a program that went 5-14 in two seasons under Nelson including a 1-9 mark this past fall.
Nelson had replaced Jonathan “Gabby” Price, who coached the Eagles for six seasons after the program was resurrected following a 60-year absence.
Price guided Husson to a 25-28 record, including a 19-10 mark over his last three seasons.
“I’m very excited,” said Murphy, who thanked Husson president Bob Clark and athletic director Bob Reasso for giving him the opportunity during a Wednesday press conference.
He has a one-year contract as is the policy for head coaches at Husson and it is believed that he will make in the vicinity of $50,000.
Following the conference, Murphy talked about the Eagles being immediately competitive in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
“That’s our number one priority and I see no reason, whatsoever, for us not to take that next step right away,” said Murphy. “Yes, we need a great recruiting class. We’re going to continue to strive to bring in the best quality kids that we can and retain the ones that we have.
“It all comes down to making sure that we’re investing time and energy in kids who really care about the program and who are really invested in what we’re doing,” he added.
He noted that the returnees are “very ambitious” and are already back in the weightroom in preparation for next season.
“Our kids our hungry and if they aren’t motivated after this season, I don’t know what would do it,” said Murphy.
He said his primary recruiting area will be the state of Maine.
“There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” said Murphy. “I feel very strongly that Husson should be an opportunity school for Maine kids.
“But we’re not going to be exclusively recruiting Maine kids. I don’t care what school you’re at, you start with a three-hour radius and work inside out. We’re going to hit Maine hard,” he said.
He also said that Husson will aggressively recruit all the New England states, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic states.
“The Mid-Atlantic states could be a great area for us because people can take a direct flight (to Bangor),” said Murphy who pointed out that Husson offers three academic majors that are “very popular” among football players: physical education, criminal justice and sports management in the school of business.
He will recruit “character kids” and fit his talent to a system that he feels will be appropriate.
Ideally, he would like to have a “balanced” attack between passing and running and a “high-pressure” defense.
“Football is a game of pressure. It’s about those who can apply it or defend it,” said Murphy.
Reasso, Husson offensive line coach Shawn Demaray and sophomore wide receiver Audie Murphy from Biddeford were elated by the hiring.
“Sean is such a great guy,” said Reasso. “He’s a great family man. He’s personable, honest and charismatic. What you see is what you get. He’s a very serious man who has clearly defined ideas on what it takes to win. When you watch him coach, he gets the kids’ attention. They play hard for him.
“Trust me. He’ll do a fabulous job,” added Reasso.
“He’s a real good guy and when things aren’t going right, he knows all the right words to say to keep us motivated,” said wide receiver Murphy.
Demaray said, “I could tell, within the first week, that we had something special with him here. He had great knowledge on both sides (of the ball). He had been at several different schools doing a bunch of different things. I’ve learned a lot from him the last four months and I’m happy he’s heading up our program.”
Murphy, a former honorable mention All-American defensive end at Plymouth State College and an all-conference performer in lacrosse as well as football, was the head high school football coach at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. after having served an an assistant coach at Dickinson College, Bowdoin College in Brunswick and Plymouth State.
He likes the current coaching staff and intends to retain some of them but he said he will also add a few new ones.
“I want to have stability,” said Murphy who lives in Hampden with wife Amie and children Amelia, Seamus and Keegan.