NEW LENOX – Kyle Murphy knows who’s influenced him most in his eight years of coaching boys basketball at Providence Catholic. The place he has competed, was a 2004 graduate and now is a college counselor.
It’s the man whom he’s worked with for the past eight years, including three as his assistant, former coach Tim Trendel. Trendel stepped down after leading the Celtics for eight seasons to become the coach at Marist, where he replaces Gene Nolan.
Murphy said that he’s not going to do things much differently than they’ve been done during the past eight seasons. The new Celtics leader also began coaching with the program when Trendel did and served as the freshman coach for his first five years.
“He’s a very smart basketball guy, and probably taught me everything I know about basketball, so I owe everything to him,” Murphy said of Trendel. “For me to be able to get to this point, it’s a credit to him. I wish him nothing but the best, and he’ll do well there. We still talk a lot, basically every day, and we’re good friends, too.”
As an alumni of the school, Murphy knows about the rich tradition the program has enjoyed. In its early days, coaches such as Tom Dedin, Pat Sullivan, Frank Palmasani and Dick Mandella, several of whom are Hall of Famers, led the Celtics.
While Murphy was a student and athlete there, Eric Long and Matt Smith were the coaches, and then Greg Smith preceded Trendel.
“Providence is kind of a storied program, and some forget about that,” Murphy said. “I’ve reached out to Pat and Dick, and I see Frank since we work together as college counselors. So it’s great to have those guys around and to have their support.”
For a program that has a long history of stressing fundamentals and a disciplined, hardworking approach, the new coach doesn’t look to bring about big changes.
“The plan is for us to be tough and hard-nosed,” Murphy said. “But that’s been the identity of Providence basketball, especially since it’s been in the Catholic League. We’ve got the right kids here, who are really good kids that understand the game and understand the concept of team basketball, so that’s a credit to them. That will give us a chance to compete every day, and that’s all that you can ask for.”
Murphy, who is 32, said that you can expect to see more of the same from the Celtics. With many players returning, it could be a good debut season.
“I started with Tim, so this isn’t a new program, we’re just going to continue what we’ve been doing,” Murphy said. “I want to build on our culture based on togetherness and positivity, not just from the coach but from all of the players throughout the program. We want them to have fun, and don’t want them to lose sight of that.
“In terms of the style of play, I want us to be a tough and hard-nosed team that can play some up-tempo basketball. I’m all about offensive efficiency, and there’s a lot to be said about not turning the ball over.”
The Loyola University Chicago graduate who also has a master’s degree from Lewis University and previously taught psychology at the school, realizes the positive effects that successful Celtics’ programs have on each other.
“The climate at Providence is great,” Murphy said. “We have the right kids here, and they understand what sports and teams are about and sacrifice themselves, and that makes my job so much easier. We’ll have a lot of depth this season, which is great problem to have. And it tells you a lot about our program, since kids want to be a part of it.
“Coaching is always something that I’ve wanted to do. When I played, I was short and not that quick, so I took an interest in the idea of coaching, and I wanted to go into education since I love working with kids. So when this opportunity arose, I jumped on it, and I’m glad that it’s all worked out like it did.”