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Rob Murphy will remain at Eastern Michigan. Is that good or bad for the Eagles?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Rob Murphy will remain at Eastern Michigan (Getty Images)

Two days after reports first surfaced that he intended to accept a position in the Orlando Magic's scouting department, Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy apparently has experienced a change of heart.

Murphy announced Thursday night he will remain at Eastern Michigan, a decision likely influenced by the lucrative buyout he'd have been required to pay the school if he left. The $210,000 it reportedly would have cost Murphy to break his contract is the equivalent to one year of his salary.

"I would like to end the speculation about my leaving Eastern Michigan University," Murphy said in a statement. "I am pleased to confirm that I am remaining at EMU.

"It is true that I had an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic. Representatives of the Magic were both professional in their approach and respectful of our situation at EMU. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to have spoken with them and would like to publicly thank them for their professionalism and interest."

That Murphy has opted to stay put is both good news and bad news in some ways for Eastern Michigan.

On the one hand, the Eagles avoid an ill-timed coaching search and keep the man who earned MAC coach of the year honors after leading the program to a winning league record in his first year at the helm. On the other hand, Murphy has undercut himself with his public flirtation with the Magic and made engineering a turnaround at Eastern Michigan even more difficult.

Murphy at the very least strongly considered leaving Eastern Michigan after one season — and not for a better head coaching gig either. Opposing coaches who recruit against the Eagles surely will use that to their advantage by asking prospects how they can consider Eastern Michigan when the head coach has no intention of remaining with the program for more than a year or two.

The challenge for Murphy will be to overcome that. He's not the first coach to be linked to another job only to return, but he's certainly made his rebuilding job at Eastern Michigan more difficult than it needed to be.

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