Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Erpelding looks to fill shoes with no stumble

Murphy passes boy soccer program to former assistant

August 4, 2005

A year ago Darren Erpelding wasn't sure he was ready to take over one of the most successful sports programs in recent years at De Soto.

Now, after a season at the helm of the young Wildcats girls soccer program, Erpelding takes over the boys soccer program as well.

Darren Erpelding defines the heights he intends to take the De Soto
boys soccer team Monday at the end of the first day of summer camp.
Erpelding is taking over coaching duties from Mike Murphy, who took
the team to three state tournament berths in the last four years.

Darren Erpelding defines the heights he intends to take the De Soto boys soccer team Monday at the end of the first day of summer camp. Erpelding is taking over coaching duties from Mike Murphy, who took the team to three state tournament berths in the last four years.

"Mike (Murphy) was going to hand the program over to me following the state runner-up season," Erpelding said. "But I told him that I didn't know if I was ready. We talked and talked and talked, and finally he decided he would come back for one more season. Then after last season, he said that was it.

"The opportunity presented itself. I took it, and now I'm going to run with it."

Erpelding takes over a program that Murphy took to another level during his tenure from 2000 to 2004. In five seasons, Murphy put together a 66-29-3 record and posted regional championships in 2001, 2003 and 2004. He also led the squad to a second-place finish at the 2003 4A state championships in Manhattan.

Murphy told Erpelding at one point last school year the only reason he was giving up the program was because he knew he was putting it in good hands.

"That meant a lot to me to hear that," Erpelding said.

Erpelding said Murphy had a knack for utilizing the abilities of each player.

"I stood and watched," the new coach said. "He absolutely got everything he could out of each of his players. He was a teacher first. He was an extension of the classroom."

Erpelding enters his inaugural boys season with expectations of maintaining the program's success. The college baseball player turned soccer coach said he not only wants to put out a good product every season, he also wants it to be known that his players play hard from the opening whistle to the final whistle.

Erpelding wants his athletes to be respectful off the field as well.

"I can take care of the on-the-field side of it," Erpelding said. "I firmly believe that if a player is better off the field, then they'll be better on the field as well."

The lifelong sports fan said he wouldn't make a lot of changes this season. But he said the Wildcats would switch from a 3-5-2 formation to what he called a flat-back four formation or a 4-4-2 formation. The change is being made because the talent he will put on the field dictates that kind of defense, he said.

Erpelding said Murphy wasn't real big on pushing weightlifting and conditioning. But the new coach said that would change under him.

Being the fanatic he is, Erpelding can't wait to get started.

"I'm really excited about taking over this great program," he said. "And now I don't have to wait nearly a whole year before I can coach again. I guess I can get my fix every three months."

The lifelong sports fan said he wouldn't make a lot of changes this season. But he said the Wildcats would switch from a 3-5-2 formation to what he called a flat-back four formation or a 4-4-2 formation. The change is being made because the talent he will put on the field dictates that kind of defense, he said.

Erpelding said Murphy wasn't real big on pushing weightlifting and conditioning. But the new coach said that would change under him.

Being the fanatic he is, Erpelding can't wait to get started.

"I'm really excited about taking over this great program," he said. "And now I don't have to wait nearly a whole year before I can coach again. I guess I can get my fix every three months."

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