*The Indiana Gazette, May 13, 2018
Scott “Bick” Murphy got his start in swimming at the Mack Park pool.
“My mother would drop me off for swim lessons and that’s where all the hometown lineage started,” he said. “My first swim instructors, during the cold months of late May and early June, were Sherri Widowson and Becky Holsinger. After many laps, instruction and summer days at the pool, I automatically became a fish, easily spending four to six hours a day (there).”
Murphy further developed his skills at the YMCA of Indiana County.
“I went to the YMCA and started swimming competitively around my freshman year in high school,” he said. “Thanks to folks like Ron Nelson, Dave Watkins and others that helped out with the swim team, I began to forge my way as a competitive swimmer — and sometimes diver.”
Murphy went on to set records in swimming at Indiana High School, where he was the school’s first PIAA qualifier.
“We started the swim team I believe my sophomore year with the help of a local parent, Jim Gordon Sr., whose son also was a swimmer,” he said. “After much deliberation and persuading with the powers that be, we established the origination of the Indiana swim team.
“My first two years, I believe I set two district records and went on to the state championships in State College.”
Murphy later swam at IUP, where he achieved All-America status in 1980. He also was a two-time All-East selection on the water polo club team.
“Our first All-American (swimming) experience was in Michigan,” he said. “We had an assistant coach (Gordon Miller) take us there in the depths of winter (March) in blowing snow and crazy conditions. Our top swimmer at the time, Dan Deacon, ended up winning the 200-yard backstroke and was national champion.
“We all shaved our heads … we swam out of our minds and ended up in finals and thus an All-America berth. I always took things in stride and didn’t expect a particular outcome, but I’ll have to say the All-American honor at that age was pretty cool.”
Murphy, also a champion rower, runner and lifeguard currently living in Cape May, N.J., will return to his roots Sunday, May 20, to be inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame. The 35th annual banquet gets underway at 5:30 p.m. at the Rustic Lodge.
Joining Murphy in the Class of 2018 are Bill Anderson, John Burda, Eric Craig, Owen Dougherty Jr., Steve Mizerak, Jerry Page and Norman “Huey” Whitesel.
“Personally, I have known 33 of the past inductees, either as mentors, teammates, teachers, administrators and/or friends,” Murphy said. “Based on my accomplishments, I am incredibly humbled for the recognition within the company, and feel that my accomplishments are far from par with regard to their contributions.
“I will say that being from Indiana, and understanding what the community offered me in the years of my pursuits, I am thrilled about the recognition. I can’t think of a better way to thank everyone responsible for this distinguished honor.”
After earning his master’s degree at IUP, Murphy was hired to teach, coach and direct the aquatics program at Emory University in Atlanta.
In 28 years at Emory, Murphy coached water polo, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, individual tri-athletes and the Masters swimming program.
Since 1980, he has been training and certifying lifeguards in New Jersey.
“I’ve known Bick for a number of years,” said Indiana native Bob Ogoreuc, a 2008 hall of fame inductee who is an assistant professor at Slippery Rock University, where he also serves as aquatics director.
“We did work aquatics together. We worked on beach patrol together for a number of years. We’ve been lifelong friends. He’s just a great all-around athlete, from swimming to running to triathlons. He was one of the premier lifeguard competitors in the country.
“It’s great to see that he is getting honored with the hall of fame.”
Murphy has competed in marathons in Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C. He finished fourth out of 1,000 runners at a marathon in Florida in 1999, and the race qualified him for Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii. He finished 600th out of 1,500 finishers.
Overall, he has captured 52 beach competitions. And he participated in the Maui 9-mile relay international championship, where his team finished fourth.
“The fact that Bick was so successful in swimming, running and rowing is quite an accomplishment,” said Vince Celtnieks, the former IUP soccer coach who befriended Murphy when he was in college. “To have the ability to do all three of those together, and do them all well, is very impressive.
“Plus, he’s a decent guy. He’s not an egomaniac. He did things the right way.”
Murphy has won numerous awards for coaching and volunteering, including Atlanta American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year and organizer for Olympic swimming, diving and synchronized swimming for the 1996 Games. He also was named coach of the year at Emory and taught at The Aquatic School and Institute in Pennsylvania, Texas and California.
Murphy also served as a contributor on pool design to the 1996 Olympic committee in Atlanta, where he was living at the time.
“The Olympic experience was epic,” Murphy said. “My task was to investigate all possible venues, sites, accessibility and past venues for Olympic participation in swimming and diving, synchronized swimming and water polo.
“We received the bid. Further work went through 1995, with pre-Olympic events and showcase competition that allowed many nations to take their first look at the Olympic City."
Leave a Reply.
Attention Alumni: We want to hear from you! Click the button below to be featured in our Alumni Spotlight series.