INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts have made an organizational decision to relieve Larry Coyer of his duties as defensive coordinator and have assigned Mike Murphy to the position.
"The move was made to improve communication and production," said Head Coach Jim Caldwell. "We feel this is the most effective and realistic way to move forward and win games this season. We appreciate all of the effort and hard work Larry Coyer put forth in his three years with the Colts."
Murphy is in his 27th season as an NFL coach and 14th year with the Colts as the team's linebackers coach prior to being elevated to defensive coordinator. He is coaching a linebacker rotation of Pat Angerer (MLB), Kavell Conner (WLB) and Philip Wheeler (SLB) who have combined for 32 of a possible 33 starts this season. The group currently represents three of the top four tacklers on the team as Angerer leads the NFL with 111 stops.
In 2010, Murphy's linebacking unit was resilient as Gary Brackett (12) and rookies, Angerer (11) and Conner (nine) produced the most starts. Wheeler was the lone 16-game participant among the group. Angerer (75) and Brackett (74) ranked second and third on the squad in tackles, while Angerer earned NFL All-Rookie honors by the PFW/PFWA and The Sporting News for his efforts. Murphy's linebacking corps assisted the defense in holding six opponents to under 100 rushing yards while ranking sixth in the NFL in passing defense and eighth in scoring defense in 2009. Four different linebackers produced sacks while Brackett (115) and Clint Session (104) each recorded over 100 tackles. In 2007, the Colts defense ranked third in the league, which was the club's highest position since 1971. It was also the team's fourth top 10 defensive ranking since moving to Indianapolis.
Murphy began his coaching career at Woonsocket (South Dakota) High School in 1966 and after four years in the prep ranks, earned his first collegiate position at Vermont as the school's defensive line coach in 1970. Murphy logged his first defensive coordinator stint at Idaho State in 1976 and after two years at Western Illinois, he held the same role for five seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (1979-83). Murphy spent one year with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL in 1984 before making his NFL coaching debut with the Detroit Lions in 1985 as the team's linebackers coach. He coached inside linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals (1990-93), spent one year in the pro personnel department of the Carolina Panthers (1994) and coached on the Seattle Seahawks staff (1995-97) prior to joining the Colts.