news-category: Athletics

Tina Murphy Named Head Women’s Soccer Coach

Tina Murphy

Former North Carolina standout & 4x National Champion joins Gardner-Webb after 2 seasons at USC Aiken

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. –University President Dr. William M. Downs has named Tina Murphy the next head coach of Gardner-Webb’s women’s soccer program, the Department of Athletics announced on Friday. A former four-time national champion as a player at the University of North Carolina, Murphy joins Gardner-Webb after two seasons as the head coach at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

“Coach Murphy is a big get for Gardner-Webb,” said Downs. “She has a championship pedigree, vast international experience, and deep knowledge of player talent in our own region. I’m confident that she will reinvigorate a program that has been trying to get over the hump for many years. With Tina Murphy, a title is now well within our reach. This is, in short, a next-level hire.”

This past season at USC Aiken, Murphy led the Pacers to a 7-4-4 overall record and a 4-3-3 mark in conference play, their best finish in the Peach Belt Conference since 2006. The improvements in 2022 included an eight-point increase from Murphy’s first season in Aiken, the biggest one-year jump in program history. Her team also tied a program record with eight combined shutout wins and draws.

The 2022 USC Aiken Pacers featured two all-conference players, the program’s 16-year best, including Megan Gettys, who became first USC Aiken player to earn PBC Freshman of the Year honors.

Last season’s successes propelled USC Aiken to back-to-back PBC Tournament appearances after the program reached postseason play just twice the previous 12 seasons. During her first year at the helm, Murphy guided USC Aiken to the conference tournament for the first time since 2017.

“From her youth, to college, to the professional ranks Tina has excelled, not just as an individual, but also as a member of a team,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich. “Her vast experience and powerful network in North Carolina, the southeast, and around the world, will not only help us attract great students, but also help provide the young ladies in our program with opportunities to play the sport they love post-graduation. I’m confident that Tina will instill a culture of competitive excellence in alignment with our Christian mission, we are honored to have her join our family.”

Murphy joined USC Aiken after three seasons as the head coach at Montreat College (2018-2020). After taking over a program ranked 190th nationally out of 195 NAIA teams, Murphy elevated Montreat into the top-40, reaching No. 36 nationally in the fall 2020 season, her final season with the Cavaliers. Her performance garnered Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors.

In the three years prior to Murphy’s arrival, Montreat managed just two total wins in conference play. In Murphy’s third and final season, the Cavaliers produced an 8-2-3 conference record (.731 win pct.).

In three seasons at Montreat, Murphy developed an honorable mention All-American, a conference player of the year, a conference freshman of the year, and two additional all-conference honorees, while one-third of the roster earned all-academic recognition and the team produced a 3.43 cumulative GPA.

Prior to her arrival at Montreat, Murphy worked as the Elite Training Coach for North Carolina FC. Other previous coaching stops include three seasons as an assistant at Liberty University (2011-2013) and three seasons as the head coach of Praia Grande Brazil (2008-2010), a then-first-year team competing in the 1st Division Professional league in Sao Paulo.

Murphy also possesses club coaching experience with the Triangle United Soccer Association, Central Virginia United Soccer Club, and the Olympic Development Program.

A graduate of Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, New York, Murphy was a Parade All-American and named one of the top-five defenders nationally. She played collegiately for the University of North Carolina, winning four national championships and five Atlantic Coast Conference titles during her career. While at North Carolina, Murphy was selected to the U-20 Women’s National Team pool, earned ACC Honor Roll recognition, and made the Dean’s List while playing for Hall of Fame Coach Anson Dorrance.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from North Carolina in 2000, Murphy played semi-professionally for the Charlotte Lady Eagles in the W-League. She was named captain after her first year and remained in the role until retirement seven years later. A two-time All-W-League and three-time all-conference selection, Murphy is the all-time leading goal scorer and points leader for the Eagles under the guidance of Hall of Fame Coach Lee Horton.

Murphy also played professionally overseas for three years with Santos Futebol Clube (Brazil 1st Division), for two years with Bristol Football Club (England 1st Division), and for one year with Ferroviária Futebol Clube (Brazil 1st Division).

She holds a United States Soccer Federation ‘C’ License, United States Soccer Federation ‘D’ License, United Soccer Coaches Level 1 Goalkeeper Diploma, United Soccer Coaches Level 2 Goalkeeper Diploma and United States Soccer Federation ‘E’ License.

“With great joy, I would like to thank Dr. Downs and Dr. Goodrich for entrusting me with the women’s soccer program at Gardner-Webb,” said Murphy. “I am looking forward to getting started right away and working together with this special university in leading the women’s soccer program towards achieving great things, both on and off the field!”

Murphy takes over as the sixth head coach in program history. In 2023, the Runnin’ Bulldogs return six starters from last year’s runner-up team. The ‘Dawgs posted a 9-7-5 overall record and 4-3-2 mark in conference play, beating top-seeded Campbell University in the conference semifinals before falling to third-seeded Radford University in the Big South Championship Game.

What they’re saying about Coach Murphy…

“When Tina played for me, she had an extraordinary collection of tools: exceptional technically and very sophisticated tactically. She also was a wonderful human being. One of the longtime drivers for our success at the University of North Carolina, is that the young women have an extraordinary principle center. Tina’s character was one of the best. Looking at her success with every position she’s been given as a coach has been fun to watch. She is clearly living on a never-ending ascension, a philosophy that we try to hard-wire into every young woman that we recruit. I know her players are going to thoroughly enjoy playing for her because she knows the game, she can be trusted, and she’s going to make the experience enjoyable.”

Anson Dorrance, 22-time National Champion, Head Coach at the University of North Carolina

“I had the honor of coaching Tina Murphy with my semi-professional Christian soccer team for a number of years. She was one of the best players, leaders, and mentors that I have ever worked with. Gardner-Webb is fortunate to be acquiring her talents. She will strengthen the program in every way imaginable. Her players will be blessed under her leadership.”

Lee Horton, North Carolina Soccer Hall of Famer, Former Head Coach Charlotte Lady Eagles

“Tina is a terrific hire! She is a perfect fit for the Christian culture of Gardner-Webb. She will not only be a great spiritual leader for her players, but she will also bring out their God-given potential as athletes. I am excited to watch her continue to shape the program into a dominant force within the Big South!”

Sam Hope, Head Coach Charlotte Lady Eagles, Former Gardner-Webb Assistant Coach

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