Gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy dismissed following investigation

Athletic Director Kevin Clark announced on Monday afternoon that ninth-year women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy will not return to the program following an internal investigation that began last month into what the university described as “violations of athletic department policy.”

Murphy’s dismissal was made public through a brief press release posted to the athletic department’s website that stated there will be a national search to fill the vacancy. Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications Larry Dougherty declined to provide any details regarding what the investigation into Murphy uncovered, citing the department’s desire to maintain privacy of personnel matters.

Check back for updates.

Murphy suspended, investigation pending

Temple Athletic Director Kevin Clark announced via press release on Tuesday night that women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy has been suspended as a result of a pending investigation involving violations of athletic department policy.

Murphy’s suspension will last through the duration of the university’s investigation.  Assistant coach Deirdre Mattocks Bertotti will take over coaching duties on an interim basis, as the investigation is ongoing.

The 2015 season is Murphy’s ninth as Temple’s coach. The team’s next meet is on Saturday afternoon, when the Owls host the Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational.

Three gymnasts to compete in national qualifier

Evan Eigner. | HUA ZONG TTN

Evan Eigner. | HUA ZONG TTN

The NCAA announced on Monday that three members of Temple’s men’s gymnastics team will compete in the National Qualifying Competition on April 10 at the University of Michigan.

Sophomore Jon Rydzefski and freshman Jakob Welsh will compete in the all-around category, with qualifying scores of 81.150 and 80.650 respectively.
Sophomore Evan Eigner, the son of head coach Fred Turoff, qualified in the still rings with a score of 14.725.
The only Eastern College Athletic Conference team that made the National Qualifiers was William & Mary, who received an automatic bid by winning the conference tournament in Annapolis on March 28.

Gymnastics to host final home meet

The men’s gymnastics team will host its last home meet ever Saturday night, as coach Fred Turoff’s squad is set to be cut on July 1.
The Owls will face University of Illinois at Chicago and the Air Force Academy starting at 7:30 p.m.
Turoff expects a similar crowd to the one he saw against Springfield two weeks earlier.
“I think we’re going to have a terrific crowd, and last meet the crowd was applauding everybody,” Turoff said.  “Last time there were a lot of ‘Save Gymnastics’ t-shirts, so I expect to see that again Saturday.”
Freshman Antone Wright is also optimistic about Saturday’s meet.
“I’m really excited, the first home meet was a success, and it’s only going to get bigger,” Wright said.  “We have a lot of support from our athletes that also had their teams cut, and a lot of the local communities around here.”
The fight to save the program hasn’t ended yet, Wright added.
“We’ve done a good job of spreading the word across the nation,” Wright said.  “USA Gymnastics has acknowledged us, so we’ve been just spreading the word for support and donations from whoever wants to.  I’m really excited to see how much larger we can get this movement going.”
–Steve Bohnel

Murphy wins ECAC Coach of the Year

For his efforts this year, women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy
has been named the ECAC Coach of the Year, making it the second time
he has won the award in his seven years at the helm of Temple women’s

Even though Temple only managed six victories all season, Murphy
showed his ability to get the most out of his lineups when several
times he was forced to make last-minute lineup adjustments due to
pre-meet injuries. Also, Murphy’s leadership helped lead the Owls
gymnasts to winning eight ECAC weekly awards throughout the course of
the season.

In winning the award, Murphy said he was a little surprised.

“It was a bit of a big surprise to be very honest,” Murphy said. “This
is an award that is voted on by my peers, and I was very surprised
that it would go to me.”

He added, “I love the fact that they maybe see what I am doing with
[Temple’s] program, I’m not really sure what swayed them to vote for
me, but it was very touching to win this award and I was thrilled.”

Men’s gymnastics to host senior day

Men’s gymnastics will host its senior day today in the main gym of McGonigle Hall, in a tri-meet against Army and Navy. Competition is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Following a disappointing spring trip in which the Owls went 0-3, Temple will look to end their three game losing skid tomorrow.

“Since we haven’t performed well recently,” men’s coach Fred Turoff said. “This meet could be close between Army and us, but Navy is weaker so far. Army has improved greatly from last year and currently is ranked just ahead of us in 13th position.”

He added, “We have to get back on track if we are to have a chance of repeating as conference champs.”

Senior Alex Tighe commented on his last home meet ever wearing the cherry and white.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Tighe said. “My time at Temple is almost done; it will be the last time I compete at Mcgonigle Hall with my team. These are my brothers and my friends, and it will be pretty special to compete at home with them one last time.”

Eigner wins ECAC Rookie of the Week

Freshman Evan Eigner has just been named this week’s Eastern
Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week, as voted on by the
coaches in the ECAC.

In a losing effort last Sunday at University of Illinois-Chicago,
Eigner nailed his routine on rings, posting a score of 14.250, tying
him with graduate student and team captain Taylor Brana for the Owl’s
highest score on the apparatus.

Eigner, a Philadelphia native, was a four time Junior Olympic
Qualifier before joining the men’s gymnastics team this year.

Eigner and the rest of the Owl’s will be looking to the home gym
of Pearson/Mcgonigle for their senior day in a tri-meet against Army
and Navy. Competition begins this Saturday at 2 p.m

Oliveri wins ECAC Coaches Choice Award

The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference continues to award Temple gymnasts as being on their weekly honor roll. The most recent recipient is freshman Reagan Oliveri. Oliveri has been awarded this week’s women’s gymnastics ECAC Coaches Choice Award for her performance last Sunday at William and Mary.

Oliveri’s freshman season was delayed because of an injured anklebone that she sustained while doing a routine on floor exercise. A bone specialist later revealed that a previous ankle injury did not properly heal, and the re-injury caused another setback.

Oliveri proved that she could come back strong though. At William and Mary, the Mantua, N.J. native posted a 9.600 performance on uneven parallel bars. A performance that was strong enough to win the week’s ECAC Coaches Choice Award, as voted on by the coaches in the ECAC.

Oliveri and the rest of the Owls will now prepare for their most important meet of the year, the ECAC Championships to be held at Cornell University this Saturday at noon.

Owls look to use spring break to their advantage

Women’s gymnastics (4-21) will head to William and Mary for a 1 p.m. competition against the Tribe tomorrow.

Coach Aaron Murphy said that he has been happy with the way the team was performing in practice this week and he used the spring break to display a little bit of strategy.

“We looked really good,” Murphy said. “With this being spring break, I only brought back my top 15, so that kind of cut some numbers down but really allows us to focus on the individuals in [the gym]. At this point they can all do their routines, now we just need to try and clean it up and perfect it, and that’s what we worked on this week.”

Heading into tomorrow’s meet, Murphy has high expectations for his team.

“Our expectations for the meet tomorrow is just going in there and trying to hit 24 for 24,” Murphy said. “I truly believe that we haven’t really shown how strong of a team we are, so if we can push a [score of] 192 and change, that’s what I’m leaning towards as a coach.”

Having come in fourth place out of four at the team’s last quad-meet at Penn State last week, the Owls will be looking to get back in the win column tomorrow at William and Mary.

Gymnastics looks to rebound in Chicago

In the last leg of its spring trip, No.13 men’s gymnastics (10-5) will take on University of Chicago-Illinois in Chicago tomorrow at 1 p.m. Having lost their first two meets of the trip at California-Berkeley and Air Force, the Owls will look to salvage a win at Chicago to conclude this year’s spring trip.

Temple struggled greatly in last Thursday’s meet at Air Force, counting a total of 21 falls. Something that men’s coach Fred Turoff said he was not happy about.

“We had a poor meet again. In fact it was embarrassing,” Turoff said. “We counted 21 falls, so there went 21 full points. We had our lowest score with a full team of the season, 398.5.”

After the meet, the team came together for a team meeting to address the squad’s recent struggles, something that made graduate student Taylor Brana hopeful for the rest of the season.

“We came in as a team,” Brana said. “And said ‘look guys, what do we all need to do in order to change this, and for this to not happen again?’ and we all threw out ideas and suggestions. And we heard a lot
of great things, and I’m hopeful, I’m really hopeful.”

During the team’s recent losing skid, Brana has been a bright spot. The native of Israel has led Temple in scoring in three events in both of their losses this week, and will look to continue to perform well this Sunday.

On the his team’s last meet of their spring trip, Turoff said, “We head to Chicago for the last leg of our spring break trip, and hopefully will get back on the track to a better performance.”