Q&A: NAU Head Coach Jack Murphy talks Lumberjacks, Arizona Wildcats, Bill Walton, and more

NAU head coach Jack Murphy instructs his players during a game in 2012, his first year with the program. Photo courtesy of NAU Athletics

Northern Arizona University is located in Flagstaff, Ariz., which is quite a bit different than most of Arizona, particularly Tucson. It’s cold, but it’s beautiful.

It’s not exactly known for its basketball program, though.

The Lumberjacks have been to two NCAA tournaments in their history — once in 1998 when Ben Howland was the head coach, and again in 2000 with Mike Adras. But, NAU lost both games, albeit in close contests (in 1998 by three to Cincinnati, and in 2000 by six to St. John’s).

NAU reached an all-time low in the 2011-12 season when it finished 5-24 and 1-15 in conference. Obviously, it was time for a change at the top of the program — longtime head coach Adras left he program in the midst of the mediocre season. Now, enter Jack Murphy.

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Beer and baseball at Hi Corbett Field

By: Zack Rosenblatt and Kyle Johnson

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In season four of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson was arrested for a DUI and lost his driver’s license.

Marge convinced him to give up beer for one month. With the struggle getting harder by the day, Homer attended a baseball game to try and take his mind off of sobriety.

As it turns out, he’s the only person in the stands NOT drinking a beer.

“I never realized how boring this game is,” Homer said, as the ball boys argued over who would retrieve a stray beach ball that landed on the field.

Now imagine a baseball game at the University of Arizona. It’s a blazing hot, Sunday afternoon — the perfect time for a nice, cold brew.

Except the stands were empty, and beer wasn’t for sale.

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New soccer stadium first step in growth of the sport in Tucson

[caption id="attachment_290" align="alignleft" width="640"]FC Tucson, a local semi-professional soccer team, will be deubting a new 2,000 seat stadium at Kino Sports Complex in 2014. FC Tucson was founded in 2010. / Courtesy of FC Tucson[/caption]

Soccer is not considered Tucson’s sport of choice.

That falls to men’s basketball and football at the university for spectating, golf for leisure.

For head coach Morten Olsen and winger Dennis Rommedahl of the Denmark national soccer team, that was plain to see.

On Jan. 25, the Danish squad faced Canada in a friendly, winning 4-0.

Despite the easy win, Rommedahl, wasn’t too happy with the field conditions at Kino Stadium. Olsen felt the crowd of 3,042 people was lacking.

“It was difficult for us to play the passing football we wanted to play,” said Rommedahl.

Added Olsen, “There weren’t that many people.”

This doesn’t shine brightly on a yearning for soccer for Tucsonans, but Chris Keeney, the chief business officer and co-managing partner for FC Tucson, insists there is a yearning for the sport in this town.


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