Longtime Portsmouth High School football coach Murphy steps down
They say some coaches wear their team on their sleeves. When it comes to Bill Murphy of Portsmouth High, he goes right to the skin. He actually has a tattoo of a Clipper ship on his right lower thigh.
Murphy, who has been associated with Portsmouth football for 51 years as a coach, announced Tuesday he was stepping down from his head coaching post of 17 years. He plans to remain with the coaching staff as a defensive coach.
"I'm no spring chicken anymore and it's time to let some of my young assistants take over the program," said the 65-year-old Murphy, who was a starting senior defensive back on the 1964 Division I state championship team.
Four years later, he graduated from the University of New Hampshire and returned to Portsmouth High, where he landed a teaching job.
In 1972, former head coach Tom Daubney hired Murphy as his freshman coach and Murphy has never left the program. Daubney, Walt Beaulieu and Murphy have served as the only head coaches at Portsmouth over the last 51 seasons.
Murphy guided a program that was in a titanic mess when it transferred from Division I to Division III. He righted the ship.
"I was not in favor of moving down from Division I in the late 80s," said Murphy. "But I was fortunate to have former players return and coach who really have made a difference. When Chip Kelly (current Philadelphia Eagles' head coach) was the offensive coordinator at UNH, my staff went and learned the spread offense from him. That was part of our success in turning our program around."
Murphy has led the Clippers to six state championship game appearances over the last seven seasons. In 2006 Portsmouth qualified for the state finals for the first time since 1981 when the Clippers won their last Division I crown, 14-7 ,at the expense of Salem.
Portsmouth lost to Plymouth in 2006 and was runnerup to Souhegan of Amherst three straight years (2008-10) before breaking through with championship wins against Bedford (41-6) in 2011 and Goffstown (54-27) last fall at Tom Daubney Field.
Asked how long he plans to coach, Murphy quipped "probably for a while. My wife will not put up with me around the house."