Tam News Guest Speaker: Brian Murphy


Murphy’s journalism career started 27 years ago for the Tam News and he hasn’t stopped reporting since. After covering politics for the Tam News in the late 1980s, Murphy fell in love with journalism. He has written forThe LA Times, ESPN.com and the San Francisco Chronicle. Today he has shifted his career to radio and is now on the popular morning show, Murph and Mac on KNBR 680.

Murphy was born and raised in Mill Valley and has lived here his entire life. “I was born and raised right here, I guess you could say I’m home grown,” said Murphy. “All the way from Mill Valley Little League at Boyle Park, and now I’m coaching my kid at Boyle Park. So it’s come full circle.”

In 1988, Brian Murphy was a senior at Tam. He played varsity basketball and baseball, read and loved Sports Illustrated every month, and covered sports for the Mill Valley Record [Herald]. That same year he joined the Tam News staff. He covered politics and became the news editor, because along with his passion of sports, he had a passion for politics.

“I always naturally gravitated towards writing and reading sports. Those were always my three favorite things: reading, writing, and sports. So it kind of made for a natural fit that I wanted to become a sports writer,” Murphy said. “But I was also very keenly interested in US politics. It was as passionate as sports for me. So I started at the Tam News, I was the news editor there. I tried to dig as deep into the politics of Tam as I could and this is while I was covering sports at the Mill Valley Record [Herald]. I tried to get the most of both sides.”

After high school, Murphy went to UCLA and a path for sports writing opened up. “When I got to college and I went out for the daily paper, The Daily Bruin, and they said that they had openings in the sports department and if anyone wanted to do stories right away, they could,” said Murphy. “This was my ‘in.’ I’d rather get writing. I wasn’t so worried about news. My goal was to write in the sports department, I never really looked back.”

After writing for The Daily Bruin for two years, Murphy landed an internship with one of the leading newspapers at the time, The LA Times. “My big thing was I went out for an internship at The LA Times in downtown Los Angeles. It was a rigorous test…and the greatest experience because they kicked my butt,” Murphy said. “I covered high school sports. They took it very seriously because they had a big readership. They also held it to really high standards. ‘This has to be a tighter sentence, you didn’t do enough interviews, you didn’t research the story enough.’ I heard all these things and it was hard on the ego.”

When Murphy returned to school his junior year, he was one of the leaders of The Daily Bruin. “So I came back from that experience hardened and tougher and I was sports editor of the Daily Bruin my senior year,” Murphy said. “I was the main football and basketball guy for my junior and senior years and that was really a lot of fun. At UCLA, that was a big deal too. We had a ton of money, we got to travel all over the country covering sports. It was a great way to end my time at UCLA.”

After college, Murphy wrote for various publications: The LA Times, ESPN.com, Yahoo.com, and the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was tied to newspapers,” Murphy said. “I was mainly writing for the [San Francisco Chronicle], I was the main golf beat writer for the Chronicle for many years and it really was working out. And on top of that, I had a weekly golf column on ESPN.com that I loved.

Although Murphy was living a stable life as a writer, he slowly went in another direction. “So I’m living my life as a writer. I’m happy,” Murphy said. “But oftentimes writers are asked to come on the radio, as guests. So I was a guest frequently on KNBR as a golf writer. They would go to me when I was at, like, the ‘Masters’ or the ‘US Open’ or the ‘British Open’ or the ‘Ryder Cup.’ I got kind of comfortable talking on the radio.”

“What happened was in the Fall of 2004, they got rid of their morning show, and they called me up and asked if I would become the new morning host…I was, like, pinch-hitting for one show is one thing but changing my career is a whole other deal,” Murphy said. “And they started real talking, making contract offers. It got really, real fast.”

Although Murphy was interested in the offer, his real goal was to keep writing. “My goal was to become a columnist for the [San Francisco Chronicle]. So I went to my editor and I said, ‘Make me a columnist and I’ll stay at the Chronicle.’ And he’s like, ‘I can’t do that right now, maybe in a couple years. And then KNBR was like, ‘we have this offer on the table’ and quite frankly it was a really good offer. And the only thing I could think was if I’m not going to get the columnist job I want, I might as well get the next best thing.