By Madeline Alvarez. Staff Writer
Billy Murphy, Newman’s head bowling coach, never planned on coaching, much less on forming a program that is now nationally prominent. Sixteen seasons into his coaching career at Newman, life is now throwing another surprise at Murphy: his induction into Newman’s Hall of Fame.
Though Murphy has had a successful career at Newman, Murphy said he never imagined being a part of the Hall of Fame.
“I’m humbled by the induction into our Hall of Fame. Joining the incredible players and coaches that are already inducted is truly just an incredible honor; to be with them and be a part of this athletic department,” Murphy said.
But Murphy said he did not build his career for the honors.
“I don’t think being a part of the Hall of Fame is anything that you’re ever trying to get to. I think it is a product of lots of things,” Murphy said. “I think it’s a product of creating something great. I think it’s a product of having incredible student athletes that have aspired to be great, and it is just something that happens over time because of those things.”
During his nearly 17-year career at Newman, Murphy has guided the men’s and women’s bowling teams to three national championships among other accomplishments. The women’s team has 15 tournament titles, while the men’s team has 12. The women have made 13 out of 15 possible national championships, and the men have made seven. Murphy was also recognized as National Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2017.
“This whole job has been about giving back,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he has been involved in bowling all his life. During his college years, Murphy bowled at Wichita State University and had plans to bowl professionally after graduation. While he started out following this plan, an injury prevented him from keeping his career as a professional bowler.
The injury was not enough to cut his ties with the sport, however, and Murphy opened a bowling supply shop, Wichita Bowling Supply, with his brother in 1997. Murphy was then asked to coach at Heights High School for five years. His career there was so successful that he was contacted by Newman to start a bowling program from scratch at the university. The program started for both the women’s team and the men’s team in the 2002-2003 school year.
“It happened at the right time,” Murphy said. “Fate led me here.”
Justin Crumley, assistant bowling coach, previously bowled for Murphy before helping to oversee the men’s bowling program. Crumley said that Murphy’s induction into the Hall of Fame is something he would have hoped for him.
Crumley said that Coach Murphy built the program from nothing and that it is now a contender for the national championship every year. “That’s pretty impressive to be able to do that in such a short period of time, and to accomplish it with Wichita State, which is one of the biggest and probably the most decorated bowling program in the country, in his backyard. ” Crumley said.
Bianca Montagnino, former student athlete, said that Coach Murphy “started out with belief in us. Not only as athletes but as individuals.”
Athletic Director Vic Trilli was the one who initially nominated Murphy for induction into the Hall of Fame.
“It seemed in my heart and in my mind like it was the right thing to reward him,” Trilli said. “Newman University Bowling is Coach Murphy. He is everything and anything that has to do with NU Bowling, men’s or women’s. He has developed a nationally ranked program each and every year. He is two-time National Coach of the year. I have 18 sports. He’s the only one that’s ever won…. That’s like off-the-charts-crazy good,” he said. “He has done everything with me to help Newman University, specifically athletics. He’s just a great coach. He’s a great ambassador. There isn’t anything that Coach Murphy does that comes across in a negative way. His students love him.”
Trilli said that even though a person usually has to be retired before they go into the Hall of Fame, the board that received the nomination of Coach Murphy voted unanimously for him to be inducted.
“There’s no sense in waiting,” Trilli said. “Let him enjoy the fact that he’s going to be on the wall in the Hall of Fame while he can actually enjoy it instead of having to wait like a lot of people do, 10, 15, 20 years before they’re recognized for what they’ve done for Newman University…. My hat’s off to him for everything he’s done for me during my 11 years here and everything he’s done for Newman University through what he envisioned as a Newman University bowling program.”
Trilli said he looks forward to celebrating Coach Murphy’s induction with him.
“If there ever was anyone deserving of going into the Hall of Fame, Coach Murphy deserves it…. I am going to be totally surprised if at some point, he’s not in the National Bowling Hall of Fame,” Trilli said.
The Newman Hall of Fame Induction ceremony is available for the public to attend at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9. in the Dugan Conference Center. Tickets are $25 per person and include dinner. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit the Newman Athletics website at www.newmanjets.com .
PHOTO: BOWLING COACH BILLY MURPHY will be recognized at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Feb. 9. Courtesy Photo, Newman Advancement.