Murphy will be entering her sixth year with Air Force after serving as an assistant coach her first four years and was the team’s associate head coach in 2016-17.
Murphy enters her first season as the Falcons' head coach.
Murphy just completed her fourth season with the women's swimming team
Falcons open season Oct. 5, hosting New Mexico.
Murphy comes to Academy from Xavier College Prep in Phoenix, Ariz.
Colleen Murphy enters her first season as the head coach of the Air Force women’s swimming team. Murphy just completed her fifth season at the Academy. After serving as an assistant coach her first four years, Murphy was the team’s associate head coach in 2016-17. Murphy replaces Keith “Casey” Converse, who retired after 29 years at the Academy.
“I’m really excited that Colleen Murphy has agreed to become our next head coach,” Knowlton said. “She has done a phenomenal job helping build our program and I’m confident that she will continue to build leaders of character for our Air Force and nation. She has a proven track record of success at various levels and has demonstrated a tremendous understanding of the Academy’s mission.”
Since Murphy’s arrival in 2012, the Falcons have broken every school record, had their highest ever finish in the Mountain West and their first ever Division I All-American. Murphy is the first female swimming coach to ever win a national championship (Truman State) as a coach and is just a handful of swimming coaches in the country, male or female, to win a national championship as a swimmer (Oakland, Mich.) and as a coach (Truman State).
“It is an absolute privilege to serve as the women’s swimming coach at the Air Force Academy,” Murphy said. “It has been an honor to coach with Casey Converse the last five years. We have had an amazing partnership and our team has seen so much success and growth. I am looking forward to the future of Air Force swimming and our continued rise in the Mountain West Conference and the NCAA. I would like to thank Mr. Knowlton and Mr. Nelson for their belief in my vision for the future of our program and for the opportunity to lead this amazing team.”
While at the Academy, Murphy recruited and coached the most decorated female Division I swimmer in school history. Genevieve Miller not only became the first female swimmer at Air Force to earn All-America honors, she graduated as a four-time All-American, earning the honor in the 500 and 1650 in 2016 and 2017. Miller became the first Mountain West swimmer to win two events all four years. In 2017, Miller was named the Mountain West Swimmer of the Year, earned the MW Senior Recognition Award and was named the Swimmer of the Meet at the conference championships.
This past season, Murphy helped lead the Falcons to a 7-6 dual meet record, including conference wins over Colorado State and New Mexico. The team also set nine school records at the Mountain West Championships. In 2014-15, the Falcons tied their highest ever finish at the Mountain West Conference championships, placing sixth with 281 points. That team set seven new school records and posted 26 top 10 swims. In 2013-14, the Falcons posted a 17-3 overall record and placed sixth at the MW Championships with 292 points. In her first season at the Academy, 2012-13, Air Force was 10-5 in dual meets, set 14 school records and posted 33 swims that cracked the top-10 list.
A finalist for the College Swimming Rising Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015-16, Murphy earned the Judy Sweet Award at the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy in the summer of 2016. The Judy Sweet Award recognizes two members of each team at the conference whose spirit and dedication to their own and to others’ personal and professional success has made an impact on their peers. In December, 2016,
Murphy was selected to speak at the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy as a championship coach.
Prior to arriving at the Academy, Murphy spent five years as the head coach at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, Ariz., where she led the Gators to five 5A state titles. Murphy’s swimmers earned 23 NISCA All-American honors while at Xavier. While coaching at Xavier, she also coached with the Phoenix Swim Club.
From 2002-05, Murphy was the head coach at Truman State where she led the women’s swimming team to three national titles. A three-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year, Murphy was head coach of both the men’s and women’s swimming teams, was the senior woman’s administrator and an instructor in exercise science. Her men’s teams earned two top 16 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a 10th place finish in 2005. In 2005, she coached Sarah Dance, who earned the Walter Byers award. Her swimmers earned 72 NCAA All-American honors (52 women and 20 men) during her three years as head coach. Her teams set five NCAA Division II records (one individual and four relays) and four swimmers earned NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. Murphy was inducted into the Truman State Hall of Fame, as a coach, in 2011.
Murphy has also served as assistant swimming coach at the University of Iowa from 2001-02 and at Truman State from 1999-2001. At Iowa, she helped lead the team to 10 new school records and coached a Division I All-American. As an assistant at Truman State, she helped lead the women to the 2001 NCAA Championship, coached a Honda Award winner, a Division II Female Athlete of the Year, a Division II Female Swimmer of the Year, 11 national champions, 33 All-Americans and 12 Academic All-Americans.
She also has club coaching experience with the Phoenix Swim Club in 2010-11 and Wildcat Aquatics from 1997-99 and has worked numerous swim camps, including at the University of Texas, Penn State and Arizona State University.
Murphy was a five-time All-American and three-time Academic All-American at Oakland University (Mich.). She was a scoring member of the 1994 NCAA Division II Championship team and was on three national runner-up teams (to Air Force in 1995 and 1996 and to Drury in 1997).
Murphy graduated from Oakland University, cum laude, with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in exercise science. She earned her master’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky and certificate in college counseling from the University of California-San Diego.
Murphy is married to Joe Fanthorp. They have two children, son Brady and daughter Makenna. Murphy’s father was a former sergeant and firefighter in the Air Force, serving in Vietnam.