West Ouachita’s Jimbo Murphy has a history of being candid with athletic director Mitch Thomas. To be more specific, Murphy hasn’t shied away from telling Thomas, “no,” a time or two.
In actuality, that was Murphy’s initial answer when he was approached about coaching girls basketball in 2011 before he ultimately succumbed to a different response.
“I’ll coach them for one year,” Murphy recalled telling Thomas nine years ago.
After nine full seasons as head coach for the Lady Chiefs, Murphy was approached by Thomas again, but this time it was about taking over as the new boys head coach.
West Ouachita’s head boys coach position was left vacant after the school parted ways with Daniel Dalleo, who served as head coach the last three seasons.
So when Murphy was approached with the opportunity, he gave Thomas an answer he wasn’t used to receiving.
“It caught me off guard, but I had the opportunity to coach with my son (T.J. Murphy),” Jimbo Murphy said. “He’s been coaching football and baseball at the school, and with this opportunity, he would coach basketball and baseball.”
That opportunity was too good to pass up even if we’re all living in a time of uncertainty. Murphy is now tasked with learning about his new team, though he’s familiar with the older players, during a time where he doesn’t even know when tryouts will occur.
“This is all speculative, but we probably won’t be able to try out until August at the earliest,” Murphy said.
On top of this unique circumstance, Murphy is walking away from coaching a girls team that, despite being young and jumping up a classification, made the playoffs last year.
“I’ll be honest with you I could’ve stayed with the girls, and it could have been like great for the next one or two years,” Murphy said. “Whoever steps in as the new coach will be in a really good situation. Those are some great kids with a lot of potential.”
Thomas said the school is taking applications for a new girls coach.
Whichever coach takes over for Murphy will have to follow in the shoes of a coach that’s been to the postseason the last eight consecutive seasons. West Ouachita won the district during the 2014-15 season after going 6-2 and beating Bastrop in a tiebreaker at Sterlington High School. West Ouachita’s run of postseason success came after the Lady Chiefs won just four games during Murphy’s first season as head coach.
Murphy was 174-150 as the girls head coach.
Murphy joined West Ouachita in 2006 as a football and baseball coach after serving as the head boys basketball coach in Winnsboro for the previous 10 seasons.