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Murphy staying put
Monroe boys basketball coach Pat Murphy (left) talks to participants in the Monroe boys basketball summer camp Wednesday night alongside Wisconsin Badgers sophomore Tim Jarmusz. Jarmusz was the main attraction at the 7th annual camp. Badgers who have attended past camps include Kirk Penney, Greg Stiemsma, Joe Krabbenhoft, Sharif Chambliss and Freddie Owens (twice). Jarmusz, a 66 guard/forward was named the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year his senior season at Oshkosh West and shot 47.9 percent from the field last season for the Badgers.
PLATTEVILLE - After an extensive pursuit of a new men's basketball coach, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has its man - and it's not Monroe boys coach Pat Murphy.

Pioneers assistant Jeff Gard was introduced Tuesday as the 13th coach in school history.

"Coach Gard has paid his dues," Murphy said. "And he's so connected with the Platteville community already. I called him up to congratulate him and wished him luck."

Murphy was one of five finalists for the job. As the head of the Cheesemakers the past eight seasons, Murphy has won three Badger South Conference championships and has guided Monroe to the Division 2 state tournament four times in the past five years - winning it all in 2007.

"I thought I was a long shot. I was the only one in the running without college coaching experience," Murphy said. "But I thought it was worth a shot. I know a lot of people at Platteville. A lot of the same associates are still there from when I was in school.

"But Monroe is a great community with good people, and it's about the same size as Platteville. We're building something here."

Gard had been the Pioneers' assistant for the past six seasons and replaces Paul Combs, who left Platteville for Wayne State in Nebraska. Gard played college ball at Platteville, and since his return to the coaching staff the team has gone 103-56.

"I am humble and excited to be able to take this next step in my career and lead this storied program," Gard said at Tuesday's news conference at the Pioneer Student Center in Platteville. "I know there are a lot of eyes on Platteville as a result of what these young men accomplished last year as well as the rich tradition that has gone before us."

The Pioneers won four national champions, the last of which came in 1999. Murphy played at Platteville from 1988 to 1993 under now Wisconsin Badgers coach Bo Ryan.

Gard graduated from UW-Platteville in 2001 with a bachelor's in physical and health Education and earned his master's in education in 2005. After graduating in 2001, he went on to coach at Lakeland College from 2001 to 2003 before returning to Platteville as an assistant.

His father, Greg Gard, was an assistant at Platteville and serves as the assistant head coach under Ryan at Wisconsin.

"Coach Ryan has touched so many lives over the years," Murphy said. "There are so many good people in Platteville and all around because of him."