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Liberty to Add Field Hockey and Hires Murphy
Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber has announced the Athletics Department will make field hockey its 21st NCAA Division I sponsored program, with competition slated to start in fall of 2011. Additionally, Liberty Athletics has tabbed former Richmond assistant Jodi Murphy as the program's inaugural head coach.
"We are very fortunate to have Jodi Murphy join our athletics coaching staff and lead our field hockey program," stated Barber. "It became very obvious during the interview process that she is a wonderful fit for our University. Her past experience will be a great advantage to us as we begin our next athletics program."
Field hockey becomes the third women's program that Liberty Athletics has added to its NCAA Division I sponsor list in the past three athletics seasons.
Women's lacrosse opened up competition during the spring of 2010, while women's swimming is currently in the midst of its first season of competition. With the addition of field hockey, Liberty Athletics will now sponsor 11 NCAA Division I women's programs.
Liberty's field hockey program will compete as an independent program in 2011 and will look to join the NorPac Conference in 2012. Started in 1982, the NorPac's current field hockey membership consists of: Appalachian State, Davidson, Longwood, Radford, Stanford, California-Berkeley, California-Davis and Pacific.
Murphy spent three seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, capping the three-year stint by helping Richmond to the 2009 Atlantic 10 regular-season title, Atlantic 10 conference title, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and a No. 19 final season ranking.
During her time with the Spiders, Murphy helped coach 18 Atlantic 10 all-conference players, seven VaSID all-state student-athletes, a third-team All-American and a pair of players who have earned Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
En route to the 2009 Atlantic 10 title, Murphy helped the Spiders' defense finish the season ranked No. 17 nationally with a 1.62 goals against average.
While on staff at Richmond, Murphy served as the Director of Staff Operations and was responsible for all aspects of recruiting, including player evaluation, correspondence and official on-campus visits.
"I am incredibly blessed and humbled by the opportunity to join the Liberty Athletics family," commented Murphy. "Upon stepping foot on campus last spring, I was immediately impacted by the University's commitment to establishing prominent athletic programs within a strong faith community.
"I welcome the challenge and reward of starting a brand new program. I am eager to create a field hockey culture that models Christian values and standards within the competitive Division I environment."
Murphy brings with her a vast array of additional coaching experience, including time spent at West Chester University, US Field Hockey (working with the Futures Developmental Program as both a Head Coach and Site Director) and leading hockey projects abroad with her non-profit organization, Pathfinder Hockey.
Murphy started her collegiate playing career at Indiana, playing for the Hoosiers for two years before transferring to Richmond. During her days at Indiana, Murphy started 37 out of 38 games over two seasons and earned NFHCA academic honors.
Murphy transferred to Richmond for the 2005 season and helped guide the Spiders to back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles and trips the NCAA Tournament.
As a junior, she started all 22 games and earned second-team Atlantic 10 honors, while she was a first-team honoree as a senior.
Murphy was a four-year starter and team captain at Jamestown High School in her hometown of Williamsburg, Va. She was a two-time first-team Virginia All-State selection and Virginia State High School League AA Player of the Year in 2002.
Murphy as participated in the USFHA A-Camp in 2003-04 and was a part of the National Field Hockey Futures National Championship from 1999-02. She graduated from Richmond in 2007 with a bachelor of arts in religion with an English minor.