Like most of the college basketball coaching fraternity, first-year Northern Arizona coach Jack Murphy spent a good part of Final Four weekend in Atlanta at the annual networking/socializing shindig hosted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Murphy left without his wallet — an apparent pickpocket victim — but after canceling his credit cards and discovering unauthorized charges totaling a relatively modest $90, he managed to talk his way through a rigorous Transportation Security Administration grilling and make it back to Flagstaff.
“I had to answer all of these questions from the TSA,” Murphy said. “I was patted down … but the funny thing happened after I got home.”
Yep, upon returning to NAU, Murphy got a phone call with news about the whereabouts of his wallet — from Vancouver, British Columbia.
Delivering the update was FOX Sports Arizona reporter Todd Walsh, in Canada for a telecast of Monday night’s Phoenix Coyotes-Vancouver Canucks game.
“After I canceled my cards,” Murphy said, “whoever had the wallet just dumped it at a mall. Mall security found Todd’s business card and called him.”
A little sidebar irony: Like Murphy, Walsh once worked as a basketball manager at the University of Arizona under Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson.
Walsh wasn’t mall security’s first call — that went to FOX Sports Arizona director of marketing/communications Brett Hansen, whose business card was also in the wallet. But while Hansen was trying to figure out why he was getting a call regarding “John Patrick Murphy,” the authorities had moved on to the next card in the stack.
“I was getting ready for the game in Vancouver and got this bizarre voicemail,” Walsh said from Vancouver. “I thought it was spam. I was going to delete it.
“His (Murphy’s) license didn’t say ‘Jack’ because his given name is John, I guess. When security said it was Atlanta, Final Four and everything, I put it together and figured it must have been Jack. All of his money was gone, but the business cards were there.”
With his wallet recovered and his person back in Flagstaff, Murphy now can refocus on the process of building the Lumberjack basketball program.