Rob Murphy, a former collegiate basketball head coach with more than two decades of coaching experience, has been named president and general manager of the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons NBA G League affiliate. Murphy will oversee basketball and business operations for the franchise.
“It’s an honor for me to join the Pistons organization and lead the newest professional sports franchise in Detroit, the Motor City Cruise,” says Murphy.
Murphy, 47, joins the Pistons after spending the past 10 seasons as men’s head basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Murphy accumulated 166 wins at EMU, making him the coach with the second most wins in the program’s history.
At EMU, he led the Eagles to three 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances. EMU won its first Mid-American Conference West Division Championship during Murphy’s first season in (2011-2-12). He was named MAC Coach of the Year and NABC District 14 Coach of the Year.
EMU also won the Jamaican Classic Championship, the EMU Tip-Off Classic, and defeated Big Ten teams like Michigan and Purdue under Murphy’s tenure.
Beyond athletics, Murphy has a strong academic track record, with 36 of 38 of his student-athletes graduating from EMU — the best in program history. He is also known for his philanthropic acumen, as he initiated a number of community programs through the Rob Murphy Foundation for underserved youth in the Ypsilanti and Detroit communities.
Troy Weaver, general manager of the Pistons, says that Murphy’s background in both basketball and business will help strengthen the Cruise franchise.
“Rob brings tremendous knowledge, creativity, and leadership to our executive team,” says Weaver. “He’ll work collaboratively with both the basketball and business sides of the Pistons organization to ensure we have systems in place that maximize the development potential of the Cruise franchise.”
Prior to EMU, Murphy began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at Kent State University and later at Syracuse University.
Murphy was a two-year starter on the basketball team at Central State University in Ohio. After graduation, he began coaching at Detroit Central H.S. as the associate head coach from 1996-1998.
Central excelled under Murphy’s leadership, winning the state Class A championship in 1997-1998 after finishing runner-up in 1996-1997.
Murphy then became the boy’s head basketball coach at Crockett H.S. With Murphy, the team earned three consecutive Class B District titles.
In the 2000-2001 season, Crockett won the state championship with Murphy as coach, and he was named All-Metro Coach of the Year by the Detroit Free Press that season.
“Rob Murphy is the perfect person to lead the Motor City Cruise, and we are pleased to welcome him to the Pistons organization,” says Arn Tellem, vice chairman for the Detroit Pistons. “His basketball knowledge is well documented and, given that he was born and raised in Detroit, Rob’s relationships throughout the city and region will help drive business and growth opportunities for the future.”