FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Longtime Nevada prep head coach Al La Rocque (pronounced La-Rock) has joined the Northern Arizona men's basketball staff as an assistant coach for Jack Murphy, one of his former players at Durango High School, Murphy announced Monday.
"Coach La Rocque is very close to me personally and professionally," said Murphy. "He has been a mentor of mine who got me involved in basketball at the very early stages of my life. He has always been someone I could rely on for advice and direction. Having him by my side this year is really going to help me and our staff. He has experience at all levels of the game and will be a great asset for our program."
La Rocque brings 20 years of head coaching experience to the staff, including five years at Western High School from 1975-80 and 15 years at Durango High School from 1993-07. He posted an overall record of 380-227 as a head coach, including a 280-176 mark at Durango.
"It is a real dynamic staff," said La Rocque. "It is what I am looking forward to the most, working with young and enthusiastic coaches. Jack is at the helm and nobody will out-work him. Matt Dunn and Vic Sfera are two up-and-coming guys. I bring some grey hair with me. Whether it is at the high school, college or professional levels, it is the experience that counts."
He also served five years as an assistant coach for the Durango women's program from 2003-08, helping the girls post a 107-37 mark. He most recently served as a college scout for the Washington Wizards from 2008-11.
He led his teams to the two state championships, 11 playoffs appearances and six state championship tournament appearances. He was named the Nevada Coach of the Year two times. He earned the distinction for the first time in 1996 after winning the Nevada State AAA titles and again in 2000 after leading Durango to a state AAAA runner-up finish.
He also coached the 2008 Nike Global Challenge Under 19 USA Team to the championship title.
He played collegiately for former Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson at Long Beach City College, leading the team to a state championship before finishing his career at Cal Poly Pomona. He earned a degree in business management at Cal Poly Pomona in 1973 and his master's from UNLV in secondary education in 1976.
La Rocque replaces Jermone Riley, who left the program for personal reasons.