The Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ incoming G League affiliate, has hired a local former college coach with deep local ties to lead its front office.
Rob Murphy has left his job as Eastern Michigan men’s basketball coach to become the new president and general manager of the Cruise, the team announced on Wednesday.
Murphy was with the Eagles for 10 seasons and started his coaching career at Detroit high schools.
“It’s an honor for me to join the Pistons organization and lead the newest professional sports franchise in Detroit, the Motor City Cruise,” Murphy said in a statement. “I thank Tom Gores for providing this opportunity and I’m excited to work with Arn, Troy, Dwane Casey, Mike Zavodsky and the rest of the leadership team in building long-term success on and off the court while fostering a culture that will help us achieve our collective goals.”
Murphy went 166-155 in his 10 seasons at Eastern Michigan, making him the second most-winningest coach in school history. The Eagles earned the Mid-American Conference West Division title in 2012 and made postseason trips in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
The Eagles were just 6-12 this season.
A Detroit native, Murphy was a standout in football and basketball at Mumford when he graduated in 1991. He was a starter at Central State in Wilberforce, Ohio, and returned home to be an associate head coach at Detroit Central in 1996.
In 1998, he was hired as the boys basketball coach at Crockett. From 2000-02, Crockett won three consecutive state district titles and the Class B state championship in 2001. The Free Press named him All-Metro Coach of the Year that same season.
Murphy left departed Crockett in 2002 to become an assistant coach at Kent State, and replaced Troy Weaver as an assistant coach at Syracuse in 2004 after Weaver left to become a scout for the Utah Jazz.
“Rob brings tremendous knowledge, creativity and leadership to our executive team,” Weaver said in a release. “He’ll work collaboratively with both the basketball and business sides of the Pistons organization to ensure we have systems in place that maximize the development potential of the Cruise franchise.”
The Cruise will play their inaugural season this fall at a new arena being constructed on Wayne State’s campus.
EMU athletic director Scott Wetherbee said in a statement that the school will immediately begin a search for its 30th men’s basketball coach.
“We have been honored to have Coach Murphy be a part of our EMU family,” Wetherbee said. “The work, dedication and growth of the men’s basketball program will be passed onto his successor with his support. We will begin the process of finding the next head coach and leader of the program immediately.”
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