Since 1997, Gail Murphy has built Denison women's soccer into one of the premier programs in all of NCAA Division III.
In 21 seasons as the head coach of the Big Red, Murphy has posted an impressive record of 279-109-38 (.655) along with 14 appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament and seven North Coast Athletic Conference Championships. A two-time NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year, Murphy has compiled a collegiate head coaching record of 312-142-39.
In 2016, Denison captured the NCAC Tournament title by blanking Wittenberg, 1-0 behind a goal by Meg Wozniak in the 89th minute. With the win, Denison advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time under Murphy and the 16th time in program history.
In 2010, the Big Red matched their deepest NCAA Tournament run in school history by advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Denison was nationally ranked all season and after tying for second place in the NCAC in the regular season, the Big Red won the conference tournament on their home field and went on to host the NCAA Regional at Barclay-Thomsen Field. After dispatching Penn St.-Altoona in the first round, Denison defeated eighth-ranked Illinois Wesleyan in the second round to capture the regional title. In the Round of 16, the Big Red advanced by edging Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a shootout before bowing out, in a similar fashion, the following day, to Otterbein in the quarterfinals. Senior forward Jen Clemmer was named to the NSCAA All-America squad and was chosen as the NCAC's Offensive Player of the Year.
In 2009 Murphy's squad posted a 16-4-2 record and finished 25th in the final NSCAA/Adidas Division III rankings. Murphy was named the NCAC Coach of the Year for the third time after leading the team to a 7-0-1 conference record. Junior forward Kim Oshita was named the NCAC's Offensive Player of the Year and would go on to become the program's 16th All-American.
Since her arrival in 1997, Murphy has coached nine athletes who have gone on to earn at least one All-American citation and a total of 128 all-conference honorees. She is the program’s all-time leader in victories and also boasts the highest career winning percentage in the 35-year history of women’s soccer at Denison. Entering the 2016 season she ranked 19th among active Division III women's soccer coaches in terms of career victories.
Murphy's Denison teams have won at least 13 games in 14 of her 18 seasons as head coach. In 1999, her team won a school-record 18 games and in 2005 they advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals (Elite Eight) after a dramatic shootout victory over Otterbein in the Sweet 16. Murphy has coached DU in 27 of the program's 30 NCAA Tournament matches and she has advanced to the second-round, nine times to go along with three Sweet 16 appearances and two Elite Eights.
This fall, Murphy begins her 35th year of coaching (30th as a head coach). From 1983 to 1991 she coached Los Alamos (N.M.) High School, where her teams played in the finals of the state tournament five times, winning three championships. She began her college coaching career in 1991 as a graduate assistant in Massachusetts. In March of 2018, Murphy was the recipient of the Honor Award from the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association for her impact on college soccer in the state of Ohio.
Murphy spent four years at Southwestern University in Texas, where she took a first-year program to a top-10 regional ranking in just two seasons. While at Southwestern, Murphy was selected as Coach of the Year by the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Murphy then made the cross-country switch to Denison, leading the Big Red back to regional and national prominence. The Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association has twice named Murphy its Coach of the Year (1997, 1999).
Murphy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from the University of New Mexico in 1983 and her Masters of Science in Exercise and Sport Science from Smith College (Mass.) in 1993. Along with her soccer coaching duties, Murphy is an assistant professor on the faculty of Denison's Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Studies.
Murphy resides in nearby Newark.