March 21st, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Mike Murphy

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Mike Murphy
photo submitted by the Murphy family

Mike Murphy is an Irish man, through and through, but Track and Cross Country run in his veins. The CSAA is blessed to have volunteers to help make the programs run; but Mike is a person whose contributions help make the program a success.

Having grown up in the west-end, Mike attended St. Cecilia grade school and Flaget High School. He married Diane Zinninger and their two children, (now adults) Shawn and Colleen, knew their dad as a coach from the day they were born. With the track season right in front of us, Mike Murphy is helping develop the “next generation” of GRAND kids as they progress to the CSAA championship on April 28th at St. Xavier High School.

When and how did you get your start with the CSAA? Why so?

I was asked to help coach when I was a senior in high school.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

My grade school football coach went to St Helen's after coaching at St Cecilia. He was asked to also coach track, but didn't know much about the sport. I helped him there for 3 years.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I have coached track at St. Helen, St. Edward, St. Basil, St. Lawrence & Notre Dame Academy. I had some off time between the first 3 schools. I started coaching at St Lawrence when my son was in the 5th grade – 26 years ago. I stayed with Notre Dame when it opened. I started cross country at St. Lawrence about 15 years ago.

What's the connection with your faith and giving your time to these young student athletes? 

Being able to teach these young kids about sportsmanship and that it's not all about winning.

Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why?

Leo Wessel – my grade school football coach. We are still great friends.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach? 

To make sure that the kids are having fun and doing well in school.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

It was great to be able to teach and coach my own kids. Now I have my grandkids on the cross country and track teams.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of coaching?

Being able to watch the kids I coached years ago, go on with their lives. I love it when one of these adults bring their child to practice and then they tell them: “This guy coached me!”


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