He'll have a much longer ride to work, but it looks as if three-time state championship winning coach John Murphy will be staying in the South-West Conference.

Murphy, who resigned at Masuk last month after 16 years, is expected be named the next head coach at New Milford.

It's not official yet. Murphy's hire is pending approval by the New Milford Board of Education.

The board is scheduled to meet Wednesday, said New Milford athletic director Lance Pliego, who had no comment on the possible hiring of Murphy.

On the board's agenda is a proposal to hire Murphy as the school's football coach effective Thursday.

Murphy, 45, who lives in Stratford, would also take over as the school's girls lacrosse coach, a position he held at Masuk.

Murphy, who declined comment, compiled a 158-33-1 record at Masuk, replaces Chuck Lynch, who resigned after nine seasons.

Unlike Masuk, which had played for a couple state titles before Murphy arrived in 1997, New Milford has had little success in football.

Though the Green Wave once competed for an SWC title (a 7-6 loss to Foran in 2001), that remains its high-water mark of football glory. It has never qualified for the state playoffs.

The Green Wave has just three winning seasons and has averaged just under four victories per season over the last 20 years.

Murphy's first game as New Milford coach: vs Masuk.

sbowley@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/SPBowley