Former Hamilton football coach finds new home at Moeller

Hamilton football coach Chad Murphy celebrates a touchdown during a game against Milford at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton on Aug. 30, 2013. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

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Hamilton football coach Chad Murphy celebrates a touchdown during a game against Milford at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton on Aug. 30, 2013. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

HAMILTON — Chad Murphy feels like he’s quite literally taking a leap of faith in his football coaching career.

Murphy, ousted last fall after six seasons as Hamilton High School’s head coach, has landed in the Greater Catholic League and is the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Moeller.

“It’s a special place,” Murphy said. “We start staff meetings with prayer. I’ve been in public schools all my life, and not long ago a pretty good friend of mine, Chris Wells, lost his job and caught all kinds of grief because of praying. Growing in my own faith is a big reason for the decision I’ve made.”

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Murphy will be working under new Moeller head coach Todd Naumann, who was the school’s associate head coach under Doug Rosfeld last season as the Crusaders went 6-5 and won the GCL South Division championship.

Rosfeld added Murphy to his staff, but left in February to accept a position with the Cincinnati Bengals. Naumann was named interim head coach and became the head coach March 26, and he chose to keep Murphy on his staff.

“I first got to know Chad when Doug Rosfeld was still the head coach,” Naumann said. “Chad seemed like an awesome guy, and as we started to talk more, he proved himself to be a heckuva football coach.

“Things didn’t work out maybe the way he wanted at Hamilton, but the reality is I think Chad is a wonderful man, first and foremost. He’s a dedicated husband and a man of faith. He’s made a positive impact on the lives of a lot of young people.

“He’s coached at a handful of schools and coached different types of kids, and I think that was a valuable experience for him. He’s also a very talented offensive mind. He’s really going to help us on the offensive side of the ball.”

Murphy, 41, has coached in the prep ranks at Monroe, Mount Healthy, Northwest, Hamilton and Vero Beach (Fla.). He also coached at Lincoln (Mo.) University.

At HHS, Murphy’s record was 14-46. He said he resigned after being given an ultimatum to step down or be fired.

“I don’t even know if bitter’s the right word,” Murphy said of being forced out. “I’m smart enough to know and I’ve been around this game long enough to know you’ve got to win.

“I didn’t get into coaching specifically for my career record. If I was worried about that, I probably never would’ve taken the Northwest job or left there to take the Hamilton job. It’s about relationships and making a difference while trying to win some games.

“Leaving Hamilton was definitely heartbreaking. It hurts. I cried like a baby when I left Northwest on my own terms. I cried the day I resigned at Hamilton not on my own terms. It’s because of the relationships.

“I would never second-guess anything I’ve ever done. My wife and I made great relationships in the city of Hamilton. There might have been some problems, but every organization, every business has their type of problems. It’s six years that was a nice little chapter in my life, and now I’m excited for the next chapter.”

Murphy, who has no current plans to give up his job as an intervention specialist at Hamilton, didn’t necessarily envision himself coaching at a parochial school.

Indeed, when his time at the Big Blue helm ended, Murphy really didn’t know what was in his future.

“I knew I wanted to take my time,” he said. “I probably sat at home a little bit too long. For probably close to three months, I did a lot of soul-searching. I talked to as many coaches as I could talk to around here. I’ve talked to coaches in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas.

“I had some college stuff in the works and just did a lot of talking about football, about Xs and Os, and about life. I had a couple opportunities to be a head coach at several places, and my heart was telling it just wasn’t the right time for that.

“I really wanted to get back to being an offensive coordinator and coaching quarterbacks, which is where I got my start. Being a head coach, you’re not able to spend the time you want on the specific niche of the game that you enjoy.

“It’s been a wild couple months. About two months ago, Doug Rosfeld brought me on down at Moeller, and about two weeks later he left to take an unbelievable job with the Bengals. I just kind of hung in there with Todd Naumann. I wanted to work for a man strong in his faith and a good person, and I don’t think I could’ve found a better human being than Todd Naumann.”

There’s always been tension between the Greater Miami Conference and the GCL South schools, and Murphy has been on the GMC side of that equation the last six seasons.

“Obviously I was aware of the GMC-GCL thing,” he said. “I’m assuming the recruiting mystique is the main reason. It’s just crazy with the recruiting that goes on everywhere these days. For anybody to say anything about anybody else’s recruiting is almost hypocritical, to be honest.

“Everybody under the sun has been accused at one time or another of recruiting. All I know is if I had a son playing football, I know where my son would go to school. Moeller is an unbelievable atmosphere, and unbelievable atmospheres are because of the people.”

Naumann has been part of Moeller in some capacity for more than three decades and graduated from there in 1991.

He said Murphy will be operating a spread offense with the Crusaders.

“It’s not top secret or anything,” Naumann said. “We’ll try to force teams to defend the entire field and defend all six field-position players at any given time. We want to be able to run the football, but also throw it down the field quite a bit. We like to play offense offensively. We want to be aggressive and try to put stress on the defense.”

Moeller has won nine state championships and made 35 playoff appearances — the latter total is tied with Newark Catholic for the most in Ohio history. The Crusaders will open the season Aug. 31 against Indianapolis Cathedral at St. Xavier.

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