TIM MURPHY, Clayton Valley Charter
Tim Murphy set a lofty goal when he took over as Clayton Valley Charter's coach in May.
Just two weeks after arriving on campus, he told his new players that they would be fitted for North Coast Section championship rings in December.
"A couple people said maybe you're overdoing it for the first year, and other kids who weren't playing football were giving them a hard time for it," Murphy said. "But I think that makes kids hungrier when people doubt them."
The Eagles not only reached their goal, but they also exceeded what they set out to accomplish. Clayton Valley won the first NCS football title in school history after beating Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park 35-7 in the Division II championship game.
Being selected to compete in the first Northern California regional games, where they lost to Oakdale 27-24, was just gravy.
Murphy, who also coached section championship teams at Ygnacio Valley and Clovis East, is the Bay Area News Group East Bay Coach of the Year after leading Clayton Valley to a historic season.
After going 6-5 last year, the Eagles quickly adjusted to Murphy's fast-paced practices and innovative shotgun double-wing offense to go 12-2. They came about 100 yards shy of setting a Northern California record for rushing yards in a season, finishing with 5,445, and averaged more points than any other Division II team in the state at 49.6.
Murphy said he got burned out in Clovis, where he coached for 10 years, but has been re-energized in his return to the East Bay.
He calls himself a "dictator" type of coach but knows the importance of connecting with his players. He wants to be someone they can come to for help with grades or personal issues.
"If you're not doing that part, then you're missing a big part of it as a coach," Murphy said.
-- Stephanie Hammon