By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Murphy a coaching Pioneer?
Times file photo Monroe boys basketball coach Pat Murphy is one of five finalists for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville job.
MONROE - Pat Murphy's no stranger to final fours - his Monroe's boys basketball teams have been in four of the past five state tournaments.

Now Murphy's in a final five, where a win could land him in another familiar place.

Murphy is one of five finalists chosen from a field of 97 applicants to be the next head basketball coach of Division III UW-Platteville, his alma mater. The school announced the field of candidates on Thursday.

Murphy was a member of the Pioneers' first national championship team coached by Bo Ryan in 1991. He was an honorable mention all-conference player for the school during the 1992-93 season, and still holds the school's all-time free-throw percentage (86.2 percent) record.

Murphy's been Monroe's head basketball coach and a special education teacher with the district since 2001. He was not available for comment Friday.

But Monroe Athletic Director Kevin Keen was. He's worked with Murphy the past eight years, and said Murphy has done an outstanding job with the basketball program since becoming head coach. He said the school's success in basketball can be attributed to Murphy's leadership.

The Cheesemakers have been in the Division 2 state tournament in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Monroe won its first state championship in 42 years in 2007. This past season, the Cheesemakers lost the state title game, 79-67, to Wisconsin Lutheran. The Cheesemakers have gone 138-56 for Murphy.

"This is a great opportunity for him," Keen said of the UW-Platteville position.

If Murphy gets the job, there will be two familiar faces on the Pioneer roster - Monroe graduates Brett Stangel, who will be a sophomore, and Mitch Tordoff, who will be a freshman. Tordoff chose UW-Platteville over other Division III schools last month.

Murphy isn't the only finalist with ties to UW-Platteville. Bo Ryan's son, North Dakota State assistant coach Will Ryan, is a candidate. So, too, is Platteville assistant coach Jeff Gard. Former Platteville assistant and current Edgewood College coach Todd Adrian is another finalist, as is Cedarburg High School coach Lance Randall.

All five candidates will interview for the job Tuesday and Wednesday on the Platteville campus. The job was left vacant when Paul Combs left last month to coach at NCAA Division II Wayne (Neb.) State. Combs compiled a 104-55 record in six seasons at Platteville. The Pioneers were 23-6 last year and made their first Division III tournament appearance since winning the national title under Bo Ryan in 1999.