Saturday, April 19, 2014 3:10 AM
Published on: Monday, July 15, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
St. Vincent Pallotti High hired a pair of longtime area coaches to lead the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs at the Laurel private school.
Dennis Murphy, a 48-year-old Philadelphia native, has been named the school’s new boys’ head basketball coach, and local product Rod Hairston has been named the new girls’ head coach.
Murphy replaced Shae Johnson, who resigned after seven years, and takes over a program that went 24-6 last season while capturing the first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title in school history.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Murphy said. “I think the biggest challenge – number one – is getting a good staff.”
Murphy has learned from some of the area’s top coaching minds. He was as an assistant at St. John’s for 13 years under Paul DeStefano and spent last season at Bishop O’Connell under Joe Wootten. He also spent two years at Catholic University working under Steve Howes and one year as Glenn Farello’s assistant at Paul VI.
Murphy’s coaching tenure in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference has prepared him for the opportunity to lead his own program. He said the opportunity to learn from DeStefano has proved to be an invaluable experience.
“As good a coach as he is, he’s a better person,” Murphy said. “I consider him a friend. I consider him a mentor. I’m very fortunate to have learned under him.”
Hairston, a graduate of Greenbelt’s Eleanor Roosevelt High School, takes over a girls’ basketball program that finished 19-16 last season.
Hairston, who once guided the Eleanor Roosevelt girls’ basketball program to five consecutive Maryland 4A state championships, will be making his sixth coaching stop in as many years. He also coached at Bishop McNamara, Northwestern and Wise in Prince George’s County. Hairston spent last season at the Bullis School in Montgomery County.