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New assistant football coaches Tim Skipper, Keith Murphy on 1-year contracts


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Central Michigan's football team, led by coach Jim McElwain, prepares to take the field against Buffalo on Oct. 26 at UB Stadium in Buffalo, New York.

Central Michigan football signed two new assistant coaches to contracts this February, replacing former linebackers coach Mark DeBastiani and special teams coordinator and safeties coach Ryan Beard.

Tim Skipper has been hired to coach the linebackers. Keith Murphy will take over as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach.

The contracts were obtained by Central Michigan Life via Freedom of Information Act requests. 

Both hired by McElwain on Feb. 14, Skipper and Murphy are on 1-year contracts with the Chippewas that are set to expire Feb. 15, 2021. 

Skipper will earn $102,000, while Murphy is slated to make $86,000. If they are still on staff after July 1, 2020, they may receive a retention bonus. That amount will be determined by athletic director Michael Alford and coach Jim McElwain.

McElwain said he's pleased with the additions of Skipper and Murphy to the coaching staff that includes offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Robb Akey, assistant head/wide receivers coach Kevin Barbay, offensive line coach Mike Cummings, running backs coach Cornell Jackson, tight ends coach Tavita Thompson, defensive line coach Justin Hinds and cornerbacks coach David Rowe.

"Really excited about them," McElwain said. "Guys I've crossed paths with. More than anything, having guys with familiarity of what we're doing and what we are trying to accomplish."

Meet Tim Skipper

Most recently the defensive coordinator at UNLV, Skipper and McElwain have worked together on three separate occasions – Fresno State (2007), Colorado State (2012-14) and Florida (2015-17). 

"Great coach," McElwain said. "It's been awfully fun seeing him around the players. I'm excited to have Tim back in with the way it worked out."

Skipper began his tenure as UNLV's defensive coordinator in 2018 until head coach Tony Sanchez was fired in 2019. He was not retained on the staff.

He replaces DeBastiani, the former linebackers coach.

Meet Keith Murphy

Murphy worked with McElwain from 2016-17 as Florida's special teams quality control coach and continued until 2019.

Prior to his stop with the Gators, Murphy served as an assistant with the then-St. Louis Rams from 2007-08 under former coach Scott Linehan. He also worked at Southern Illinois, New Mexico State and Eastern Washington.

"My alma mater Eastern Washington," McElwain said. "His wife is an Eagle, so that's a good thing."

Murphy played football at Washington and began coaching as a graduate assistant immediately after his exhausting his playing eligibility.

"I'm really excited to have him on board," McElwain said.

He replaces Beard, the former special teams coordinator and safeties coach.

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