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2014-15 Register's basketball coach of the year: Mike Murphy, Sonora
His silver anniversary season had a gold-medal finish.
Mike Murphy celebrated his 25th season coaching Sonora’s boys basketball team with a CIF-Southern Section championship.
The celebration continues for Murphy by being named the Register’s Orange County Coach of the Year for the 2014-15 season.
The Raiders won the CIF-SS Division 3AA championship. It is the school’s first boys basketball title since 1983 and the third in school history.
Sonora went 29-5 overall and won the Freeway League championship with a 10-0 league record.
In the 3AA playoffs, the Raiders’ average margin of victory through the semifinals was 25 points. They won the division championship game by 12 points, 66-54, over Gahr of Cerritos at the Honda Center.
Sonora won a state tournament game, a 101-76 rout of Valhalla of El Cajon in the CIF Southern California Regional Division III first round. The Raiders lost to Alemany of Mission Hills by one point in the second round.
The Raiders got to a CIF-SS championship game in 2014 but lost. That created what Murphy considered Sonora’s largest challenge this season: internal pressure.
“If we didn’t win CIF this year,” he said, “it would be seen as a failure.”
Sonora handled the pressure well.
“We had a great group of seniors,” Murphy said. “We had four returning starters from a team that went to a CIF final the previous year.”
Murphy, 58, has more than 500 wins at Sonora. He previously coached at now-defunct Southern California Christian before taking the Sonora job. Murphy played at Corona del Mar, class of 1975, and played basketball and baseball at Vanguard University when it was called Southern California College.
Twenty-five years at Sonora and 500 wins creates a lot of memories. This past season created the best of them.
“I’ll always remember this year as the year we finally won CIF,” Murphy said. “This will always be that special year.”
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