Mike Murphy is in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Army lacrosse team. Under his tutelage, the Black Knights have consistently been ranked among the nation's top defenses, while he has also guided some of the most prolific goalkeepers in Academy history. A native of Beverly, Massachusetts, Murphy graduated from New Hampshire in 1996 where he was a three-year lacrosse letterman for the Wildcats.
April 19, 2011
Humble, Hungry and Holy Cross
I want to take a brief moment to say thank you to all of those who reached out to me in response to last week’s blog. I need to thank two special people but for very different reasons. The first one may surprise you.
I would like to say thank you to Coach Meade of Navy. As with all games the various members of the two staffs tend to chat before the game. I happened to be chatting with Navy assistant Anthony Gilardi when Coach Meade came over to say hello and shake my hand.
Coach Meade has a unique perspective on the Army/Navy rivalry. Everyone knows he has spent 17 very successful years as Navy’s head coach, but not many people know that he spent several years as an assistant at Army, so he knows both sides. We joked about the whole blog thing, and he told me he could tell when I was upset about losses because there was not much said about that particular game. He told me he really enjoyed the Army/Navy blog. And for him to acknowledge this particular blog was very humbling and much appreciated.
The second man I would like to thank is my dad. The blog in general is a lot of fluff. As I have mentioned before, it is not an editorial in the Wall Street Journal or an article in Time Magazine, it’s just my random thoughts and perspectives in my very “little” section of the world.
But last week it had to be more than just “fluff.” The Army/Navy game to our two storied programs is more than just a game. As both Coach Meade and Coach Alberici will tell you, it’s a 365 day thing. It’s all-encompassing to the players, the coaches, the alumni, and I wanted to try and capture its essence and try to do that in a thousand words or so.
When I completed the final draft at 10:30 pm last Monday night I called my dad and asked him to look it over. I think my exact words to him were, “read it and shred it.” I knew I would not have to tell him twice. I have spent the better part of my life having my dad “review” my work whether I liked it or not.
There were some heated moments in the Murphy household after he “reviewed” my homework. It did not matter how I was taught the math problem, or how the teacher told me to write the article, we had to review it “his” way.
I did not need my dad to “check” my grammar or spelling this time, I have Tracy Nelson, our SID to do my editing, there was another reason I needed my dad’s “blessing” on this one. Like Coach Meade, my dad has a unique perspective on Army and Navy. However, his perspective is not athletic in nature. It’s much bigger than that. You see, my dad is a retired Colonel in the Marine Corp. He served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War. The “colonel,” as I so lovingly call him, did not graduate from either Academy; he actually joined the Marine’s after college when it was not popular to do so. He knows more about sharing mud in real combat, with soldiers in the Army, Navy and Marine Corp then I will ever pretend to. He knows what it’s like to lead troops into combat. He knows what it’s like to trust another man with your life and know that he trusts you with his.
It did not take him long to read it over and call back with a couple possible changes. I took the suggestions to heart. I arrived at the office early Tuesday morning made the few changes and sent it to Tracy for Tuesday posting. I sent the “colonel” a note later on Tuesday just thank him for his help. In his usual way he just shrugged it off and said I did all the work.
Dad, yes they may have been my words, I might have done the typing and they might have been just suggestions, but to me it was an affirmation that I had done it right. I needed your approval. I needed to know that you liked it. I knew that if you liked it everyone else would too.
Thanks again for all your help - I love you!
What can I say about the game that has not already been said or written? Our guys stayed true to each other and for lack of a better phrase - just kept hammering. Everyone asks, what did Coach Alberici say at halftime? Honestly, he did not say anything all that “earth shattering.” We made a few minor adjustments on offense and defense. Coach Mac made one suggestion to me about how we were facing off that we changed for the second half, but in general, we told the guys to keep playing hard and keeping playing for each other.
They did that in a grand way. It was a great scene to watch our guys embrace their families after a great Army win. It was extra special to sing last!
As with every week a special congrats has to go out to our weekly award winners. The PPOW for this week goes out to senior Chris Day, whose efforts were just awesome last week. Chris has been a great role model to our younger players all year. The player of the game award has to be changed to players of the game as Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul will share that title for this week.
Every year at the beginning of the spring we have a workout shirt made up with a quote or a motivational saying on the back that serves as our “unofficial” motto of the season. Coach Alberici spends a good part of the summer and fall thinking of what words or phrase will embody the upcoming season. Last year, Coach Alberici decided to go with an idea that Coach Georgalas came up with. Coach G chose “he who invests the most, will surrender last.” We all loved it, and it really did represent our team’s attitude all season.
This year Coach A. thought that two simple words would be the way to go - hungry and humble.
He wanted the guys to be hungry and not to let last year’s accomplishments satisfy this year’s team. He wanted them to be hungry for more, for better. He wanted them to hunger for their own success.
Besides being hungry, he wanted them to be humble doing it. The successes of the 2010 team would surely be spread to the 2011 team, but the achievements of 2010 would not win games in 2011. It would put a target on our back though. This team had to achieve its own success and it had to do it the Army way.
We won games in 2010 with a blue-collar mentality. We approached every practice and game with a workman’s attitude. Nothing was handed to that team. They scratched and clawed for every victory. In 2011, we had to stay humble, embrace 2010’s successes, but also remember 2009’s failures.
As we put the Navy game behind us and focus squarely on Holy Cross, we need to remember those two simple words—hungry and humble. Hungry for our fourth Patriot League win, hungry to get better as a team and hungry to play our best lacrosse. We need to stay humble and know that it’s going to take a workman’s effort to defeat a very talented Crusader team. Stay humble and know that Holy Cross could care less that we beat Navy.
We need to stay hungry and humble knowing that even though we may have won on Saturday, we were far from our best. Remember boys - Army teams win with hard work, dedication and mental toughness.
It’s Holy Cross for #4.
“If you want unusual results, you need unusual behavior.”
Oct. 14, 2010
Jan. 27, 2011
Feb. 4, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 14, 2011
Feb. 22, 2011
March 1, 2011
March 8, 2011
March 15, 2011
March 22, 2011
March 29, 2011
April 5, 2011
April 12, 2011