Tim Murphy shown shortly after his Clayton Valley team captured the 2019 CIF Division 2-AA Bowl Game state championship
Harold Abend/Prep2Prep

Clayton Valley’s Murphy rides off into the sunset

May 1, 2023

CONCORD, Calif. – He’d been hinting at it since his team won the 2019 CIF 2-AA Bowl Game state championship when they ground out a 10-7 win over Aquinas of San Bernardino. In fact, he was ready to announce his retirement right after the season, but the Clayton Valley administration asked him to stay on one more year.

One year became two years, but after his Ugly Eagles finished 8-5 last season and made it to the CIF North Coast Section Division I title game before bowing out to Pittsburg in a 13-3 grinder, Tim Murphy has made the decision on Monday that at 53-years old its time to ride off into the sunset and retire as head football coach of Clayton Valley.

“I was trying to muster up the energy for spring ball and I just couldn’t do it,” Murphy said. “Plus, Christy (Murphy’s wife) and all of my family are as happy as can be. Now, I’ll be here for them mentally and physically one hundred percent now.”

Murphy really has nothing left to prove. His grind-it-out smash mouth running game he’s been famous for gave way to more passing so he could adapt the offense to quarterback Christian Aguilar when he transferred from Pittsburg. After a 1-3 start with the new offense a lot of the media and analysts wrote off the Ugly Eagles, but with Aguilar warming up and passing for over 3,200 yards and 25 TDs, from there on the only two losses came to De La Salle and Pittsburg.

Murphy retires tied with Paul Cronin of Cardinal Newman and Windsor for No. 10 all time in career coaching victories with 222 according to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book.

Murphy has won section titles in both the CIFNCS and CIF Central Section, and at three different schools. Each time it was a first section championship for the football program.

He started at Ygnacio Valley-Concord in 1996 and in five years his teams won the old 3A East Bay championship. That earned him the Contra Costa Times Coach of the Year. From there he went to Clovis East and from 2001 to 2011 his teams won six league championships and two Central Section title. His 2006 team went 12-1 and under the new system would have played in a state CIF Bowl game, but back then team’s were placed on “the board” and Clovis East was passed over. In 2012 Murphy returned to Concord and in 11 years the Ugly Eagles won 10 league championships, four NCS title, three CIF Northern Regional crowns, and in 2019, after winning the NCS Division II and 2-AA NorCal titles, the Ugly Eagles finally gave “Murph” as he’s known to many, a state championship.

Murphy’s 2014 Clayton Valley team set a state record and was the No. 1 rushing team in the nation when the Uglies ground out 7,055 yards on the ground. It set a national record for large schools as well.

“Murphy was a very influential coach, particularly in the running game,” said Cal-Hi Sports Founder and Editor Mark Tennis. “But as time went on he was able to have continued success by incorporating passing into his offense.

When Murphy agreed to stay on his top assistant Nick Tisa was named co-head coach, so Tisa would seem to be the natural choice to take the reins.

“I decided to go one more year to help groom Nick and he’s ready and has been running things the entire off season,” Murphy remarked. “The school has to open it up for 10 day but Tisa is my choice by far.”

He couldn’t completely cut the ties with Clayton Valley and isn’t planning on disappearing from the scene.

“Not at all,” was Murphy’s response. “I’m still going to be the strength coach and I’m still going to stay involved with the staff.

The Murphy family’s gain will be a loss for California high school football. Without question, Tim Murphy has been one of California’s, and particularly Northern California and the Bay Area’s best coaches of all time.

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