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Butte Central girls cruise to win, Meg Murphy set to retire

Posted at 7:57 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-06 13:30:35-05

BUTTE  — She may be stepping away from coaching after this season, but chances are you'll still find Meg Murphy involved with Butte Central basketball in some capacity.

"You know, I could do a shot clock," said Murphy with a grin. "I can do a book and just be in little parts of it still. You never really get away from it."

For someone who has been a fixture in Maroon athletics as a player and coach since the 1970s, it's safe to assume Butte Central will always be part of her life.

After a 40-plus year career that saw her earn a state basketball title as a player in 1982; coach Central's softball teams to championships in 1997, 1999 and 2000; and then guide the girls basketball team to State A titles in 2011 and 2016 — the later capping off a magical, undefeated season — Murphy has decided to retire at the conclusion of this season.

Prior to Central's runaway 60-30 non-conference win over Livingston on Saturday, Murphy was honored in an emotional pregame ceremony by current players and former players as well as their parents, all of whom — across a span of six decades — have been impacted by her leadership.

A tribute video was played during the ceremony that at one point focused on Central's unbeaten championship run in 2016, a feat that the Maroons accomplished with a roster boasting just one senior.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," Murphy watched herself say in the video after Central knocked off Columbia Falls in the title game. "I tell these kids all the times it's the one thing in life no one can ever take away from you."

It was a Kodak moment in a career filled with them, but Murphy decided recently it was time to put an end to this lengthy and memorable chapter of her life.

"I can't say enough about my former players and the support they've given me," Murphy said. "A lot of them are dear friends now. It was wonderful to have them here."

She chose to make her retirement decision official before the offseason rolled around when she might manage to convince herself to return.

"If I stick around till March I'd stick around for many more years," she said.

With another grandchild recently added, she figured now was as good as time as any to step away from the court.

"Family is important and I want to be able to spend some time with them," Murphy said. "It's just a new chapter of my life, a new beginning. I'll always be around the game, I'll always be around here. Butte Central's always been my home. I can't say enough good things about Butte Central."

Murphy will now coach her final home game on Tuesday when the Maroons host Stevensville for Senior Night.