High School Basketball

Murphy stresses 'heart' of game as Bryan Station's new girls' coach

Donna Murphy gave instructions to Cara Johnson, left, and Kayla Yates during her coaching tenure at Lexington Christian. Kentucky's first Miss Basketball, Murphy says she wants to instill a love of the game.
Donna Murphy gave instructions to Cara Johnson, left, and Kayla Yates during her coaching tenure at Lexington Christian. Kentucky's first Miss Basketball, Murphy says she wants to instill a love of the game.

Donna Murphy, who says her passion is to mentor young women through basketball, has a new platform to teach the game and life skills.

Murphy, a basketball icon in Kentucky, is the new girls' coach at Bryan Station.

"The only reason I do what I do is to make sure young women take advantage of the opportunities they have so they can go to college, whether they play or not," she said.

Murphy succeeds Karra Jackson, who left Bryan Station for a job in Tennessee.

Murphy will continue to serve as a professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College where she is Diversity Outreach Coordinator.

Murphy was the state's first Miss Basketball in 1976 after an outstanding career at Newport High School. She averaged 35 points and 20 rebounds her senior season.

Murphy went on to star at Morehead State.

Her coaching background includes college stints at UK, Florida, Memphis, Cincinnati and Morehead. She started the women's program at Asbury and was there 11 years.

Murphy coached at Lexington Christian Academy two years, posting a 41-18 record before leaving in 2006.

Two years later, she had a liver transplant that gave her a new appreciation for life.

"I'm a walking, talking, breathing miracle," she said. "I wake up each day very thankful to be here.

"I now have a low tolerance for excuses and for people who have no concept of what it's like to go through those kinds of things.

"After what I've been through, and having seen what other people have had to endure to be alive ... we are so blessed in this nation."

Murphy's approach to basketball is all about the basics.

"We've lost the urgency to teach kids fundamentals," she said. "That's the heart of the game. Period.

"I like to teach the game. I don't like to just go out and run plays. My main interest is teaching kids how to play, and to have a love and respect for the game.

"Everybody's worried about winning, but we need to be more concerned about the developmental needs of these kids."

Even when she hasn't coached at a specific school, Murphy has mentored young players, teaching, training and helping them get noticed by college recruiters.

She is not involved in AAU hoops.

"We're not into that type of business," Murphy said. "We don't use and abuse kids. We don't get paid for anything.

"I don't do AAU. It doesn't sit well with me."

Murphy is upbeat about her new coaching job.

"I think Bryan Station is a place that has talent, and it's a solid academic institution," she said.

"God has given me an opportunity to continue to be on this planet, and I want to share as much as I can while I can. And Bryan Station is a good place to be."

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