The hockey world has lost another quality person. Conrad R Murphy passed on March 29, 2017. For those who did not know him up close and personal, you missed out on someone special.. Death has a way of bringing back memories that we will revisit many times over as we think of Con. There are all kinds of ways to define greatness but count us in as one who believes greatness stands alone and you do not have to reach the highest pinnacle to be great. Con was a professional mentor who achieved greatness and was an even better person.
One word comes to mind when we think of you, Con. The word is "love". The word is etched in stone because you have always been honest, loyal, respectful and trustworthy in our partnership. I say Partnership because this is what we were. Every bit of what we have together has been earned and proven to each other. Never once did I see us as head coach and assistant coach. We were partners who were different in many ways but focused on what was right for our players for all the right reasons. The players came first and our families understood that. The beauty of it all is our work included bus drivers, banana band, cheerleaders, staff and student body who became extended family and had each other’s backs.
We were able to show them that success and winning is the byproduct of honesty, loyalty, respect and trust fueled by a love and passion for the game, life and all we did.
We were two people working together for a common cause with one pulse and we encouraged those in our care to study great people if they wanted to be a success story in life. Hope and belief were fueled by hard and smart work with a serious dose of commitment and determination. We were spontaneous in our decisions because no situation with students is a scheduled event. Our primary goal was all of us creating a better version of ourselves and we accomplished this.
To say I've been blessed as a coach and educator in Bemidji is an understatement. I had three unbelievable partners in you (Hockey), Desi Sagedahl (Baseball) and Ralph Vonasek (Industrial Education) and there were more. What a great school with a great staff and a community who cared; all of this fueled by people like Con Murphy. Our wives and kids were all part of the package; even our parents took part. Our relationship has stood the test of time even though our lives have gone in different directions since our Bemidji days. Every partnership has two winners or no winners. Ours is win - win and we won in a lot of ways; most importantly our players becoming productive citizens who can pass an authenticity test in real life and care.
Your son, Brian, came to us during the summer months and is still ranked as an employee that will never be beat in any way. He can only be matched; an extension of his upbringing. He set the standard for Pro Shop employees and remains friends with our kids as we write.
Your wife, Geri, said it best: “We grew up together as professionals. Our kids grew up together and are still in touch. We went through a lot of highs and lows together; most of it highs.”
We instilled belief, boldness, caring, charisma, confidence, compassion, compete, courage, determination, respect for what each teammate brought to the mix, lots of try and a will to win. Everything we did was driven by intangibles. Together we created an attitude, brand and culture that set the standard for expectations out of those we mentored.
This is the way life is supposed to work; a life with purpose, reason and substance but always remaining ordinary and fun. We encouraged creativity in critical moments and the finished products were people who were unafraid to express themselves when it counted most.
They had the skill to fit in, the skill to express their skills and the skills to figure things out in a split second when they couldn’t rely on a parent or coach’s manual. They did everything hard and smart; they were intense but energy efficient. You were the catalyst for making this happen. The coolest thing is much of what we did together became part of the foundation for our futures; something I’ve been able to build on in our Template for Success program @ MHC. All of what we did is still useful at our summer camp and we certainly use it when mentoring campers and staff. You and Ralph were there with Herb Brooks the first night we opened and I will always respect the Bemidji Fish Fry Crew for showing and performing; knowing you guys pushed for it.
Partnerships like ours stay with us forever and for that I am eternally grateful. We are in a position to take the partnership with us when the Lord decides to call us home.
God bless you and your family and know how grateful we were to see you, Geri and Brian at Claire's funeral on March 4, 2017.
Love you, my friend and partner, and love your family. Rest in peace knowing you are as good a detail person, one who cared about others before any personal gains, as any we’ve met at any time in our lives.
Chuck “Gringo” Grillo
Honored to Partner with Con Murphy