HICKORY – Murphy Post — only the sixth varsity boys’ basketball coach St. Stephens High has had over the last four decades – is leaving coaching to become an assistant principal.
In a Tuesday morning twitter to local media, Post said he won’t return as the Indians’ head coach next season. He’s been in that position for seven years, posting a 79-99 record and guiding his first three teams to the state playoffs.
Post, a Watauga High and Appalachian State graduate, will become an assistant principal at Lyle Creek Elementary.
He was head coach of St. Stephens’ junior varsity team and an assistant to former head coach Gary Bowne for four seasons before replacing Bowne. Bowne retired after the 2010-11 season and is now varsity boys’ basketball head coach and athletic director at Hickory Christian Academy.
“I did not reach this decision lightly but this was an opportunity I could not pass up,” Post said in the message. “(St. Stephens) Athletic Director Billy Baker and (St. Stephens) Principal Scottie Houston will start searching for a replacement immediately.
“I am grateful to the St. Stephens community and to all of the people who have supported me in this role and helped me grow as a teacher, coach and person over the last 11 years.
“The students, families, staff and administration of St. Stephens are second to none and whoever takes my place will have an opportunity to achieve special things.”
Post’s teams had two winning seasons, a .500 season and four losing seasons after he replace Bowne.
His first three teams went 15-12, 19-8 and 13-13, advancing to the state playoffs before falling in the first round to Hunter Huss, Hickory and Ashbrook, respectively.
The Indians were 6-17, 5-20 and 10-15 over the next three seasons and did not make the state playoffs. Last season, they went 11-14 and again missed the state playoffs.
Post’s tenure of seven years as St. Stephens head coach is third-longest among the six men who have guided the Indians since the late 1970s, behind Harry Frye (last season was 1985-86) and Bowne, who became head coach in 1990-91 and coached 21 seasons.
The only other varsity boys’ basketball head coaches at St. Stephens in the previous 40 years was Jeff Price for three years, starting in 1986-87, and Mike Bortz (the 1989-90 season).