California’s exclusive club of boys basketball coaches to achieve 600 varsity wins improved by one last Thursday when Mike Murphy from Sonora of La Habra guided his team to a 77-48 triumph over Fullerton in the Raiders’ Freeway League finale.
For a look at the all-time state coaching leader list with every coach at 600 wins before the start of this season (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.
The team had already wrapped up its fifth straight league title and improved to 25-3 heading into the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
It’s easy to get caught up in the Open Division teams in Southern California and lose sight of longtime coaches like Murphy, who are more than happy not to be dealing with the bigger spotlight at other schools but have just as big of an impact on their players’ lives as anyone.
Murphy, who began his career at now-closed Southern California Christian of Anaheim, is in his 27th season of coaching. He was the Orange County Register’s Coach of the Year after the 2014-15 season when Sonora went 29-5 and won the CIF Southern Section 3AA title.
In the win against Fullerton, Kevin Marlow led the way with 24 points and four assists. Making the 600th win more memorable for Murphy also was the fact that his son, Sean, is on this year’s team and posed for photos with his dad after the game with a banner that had been created to celebrate the milestone.
According to our own Cal-Hi Sports record book, Murphy is the 34th coach in state history to reach 600 wins. The last one to get there was Torrance Bishop Montgomery’s Doug Mitchell very early on last season. Mitchell just won his 650th game two weeks ago.
Next coming up to the 600 mark may be Craig Ashmore of Newark-Memorial. Based on results through Saturday, he has 578 career wins. Dave Kleckner of Etiwanda also is on the horizon. He has 559 wins, based on counting up wins after he won his 500th in his fifth game of the 2014-15 season.