PCHS coach wins UHSAA 3A award
Yes, Park City High School Coach George Murphy’s boys’ golf teams have won eight straight 3A state titles. His impact at PCHS, though, goes beyond the results on the course.
Murphy was selected as the UHSAA Distinguished Service Award recipient for the 3A level for 2015 after the boys’ golf team won its eighth straight 3A title in October.
"I didn’t know that was in the works," Murphy said. "I didn’t even know they did it. It’s a nice recognition."
Murphy, who also coaches the girls’ golf team at PCHS, was quick to deflect attention away from himself. He said it’s not because of him that the teams are some of the most successful in the state.
"For me, I look at it the other way," he said. "It’s about how fortunate I’ve been to be in this position and to work with these skilled kids."
Murphy teaches Spanish at the high school and is also the faculty advisor for the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He said he applies his coaching strategy to the NHS as well.
"It’s kind of the same approach — you give them a little guidance, but hopefully they’re the ones that take the group to where they think they can take it," he said. "To watch a lot of these kids over the years become really involved in giving back, it’s nice to know that our youth are focused on other things than just themselves."
Murphy has accompanied his students on service trips to places like Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, India, Haiti and Guatemala. He said he enjoys seeing the students learn about those in difficult situations.
"They focus on people that are a lot less fortunate than they are," he said. "It opens their eyes to the struggles certain people go through in life. It makes them more compassionate. I love that aspect of my job."
This spring, Murphy will return to the golf course with the PCHS girls’ squad. After a second-place finish last year, Murphy said he and the girls hope to get to the same level as the boys’ team and claim a state title of their own.
"When you take second, you should be totally happy," he said. "But they took second and were heartbroken because they were so close. That makes them hungry, though, so it’s a good thing. The girls are excited."
He said there will be some early-season challenges, but he believes the team can come together and have a strong year.
"We lost three of our six varsity players that were at state, so we’ve got to fill those spots," he said. "But, on the other hand, we’ve got three solid girls coming back this year that are very determined. The younger girls know there are some spots open. They’ve just got to put the time in."
Steele DeWald has his life in Park City down to a routine. After some strange encounters in his 20s, he’s OK with the mundane.