After fashioning a Hall of Fame career wearing athletic uniforms in three sports, Ginny Murphy is now showing how to continue to shine dressed as a regular citizen.
The former Washington Township High School and Ursinus College star athlete in field hockey, basketball and softball is currently the President of the Washington Township Board of Education.
“I’m real big on connecting kids outside the classroom,” Murphy said. “What I try to do as a board member is get kids engaged in some kind of activity. It doesn’t have to be sports, whatever it turns out to be, they need to have a bond and connection to adults in their school outside what they are learning in the classroom. And when that happens, good things happen for those kids.
“So this is kind of my way of giving back to Washington Township and trying to make a difference. At some point our playing days are over, but we can try to make a difference and make this world a better place.”
Murphy will be inducted into the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame on March 28 during the 37th annual banquet at Auletto’s Caterers in Almonesson.
“Associations like the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame keep that local in local sports,” Murphy said.
Murphy attended the Hall of Fame banquet last year to see former Washington Township star basketball player and current coach Jenn Natale inducted.
“I look at guys like Tony DeLucas and Ralph Saquella and they can tell you who was the best point guard in 1978 and what high school and they can tell you who that person is today,” Murphy said. “That’s the value of keeping local in local sports.”
Well, DeLucas and Saquella can tell you that Murphy, who was known as Ginny Migliore back in her playing days - before marrying Kevin Murphy, who is the long-time and highly-respected athletic director at Washington Township – was one of the best three-sport athletes in South Jersey during the early 1980’s.
Murphy was a member of the three-consecutive champion Minutemaid field hockey teams that went a combined 47‐3. As a senior captain, she was the leading scorer and was selected to play in the South Jersey All‐Star game.
In basketball, she played on the 1982 and 1983 teams that went 44‐4 and won two straight Olympic Conference championships.
In softball, she earned all‐conference and all‐county honors.
At Ursinus, Murphy competed on the NCAA Division I level in field hockey. In three of her four seasons, the Bears were ranked in the Top 20 of D-I.
“I worked as a student athletic trainer and just watching all the teams at Ursinus, they had a great tradition of women’s athletics,” said her husband Kevin, who is also an Ursinus graduate. “I would see Ginny play field hockey and that is how we met, I was taping her ankle.
“And I would be like, ‘you play against Temple and North Carolina?’
“Her junior year, which was my senior year, was incredible the competition she played against and then she would go from field hockey right to basketball.”
In basketball, Ginny was a four‐year starter and served as captain for three years. She also played softball for one season.
“She was a tremendous athlete, but she was a better leader,” Kevin said. “She could rally people around her and around the team to do what was best. She always did what was right for her teammates and she was always team first.
“That is one thing I admire most about her now, when you see her work on the board of education at Washington Township, what she does to bring people together for the good of the group, for the good of the community.
“She is a consensus builder. She is someone who sees both sides of any situation and is very willing to listen. But when it is all said and done, she leads and that is her strength and that was so evident when you watched her play field hockey or basketball.”
Ginny was named the McIntyre Award winner as the outstanding female athlete at Ursinus as a junior and she earned an Academic All‐America nomination as a senior.
Ginny and Kevin are the parents of two successful sons - Ryan, who currently attends Rutgers School of Law, and Matthew, a junior at Fordham where he does broadcasting for the men’s basketball team.
Kevin is also multi-talented. He was the head coach of the Drexel women’s basketball team for five seasons, beginning in 1995.
“I used to tell her she needed to be my assistant coach because she had such a great way about her with kids,” said Kevin. “That was always something you saw in her playing days and now, she has a professional career and what she does to volunteer on the school board.”
Ginny, who has worked for 30 years in the insurance and risk management business, has been a volunteer on the Washington Township school board for six and a half years and president since April of 2014.
“I had a pretty humble upbringing with my dad being in the military and with four kids, we didn’t have a whole lot,” said Ginny, who moved to Washington Township in the summer going into 8th grade.
“He’s a disabled vet now from Agent Orange in Vietnam, a decorated vet, he is doing well, and we moved here and that’s a critical time in a kid’s life, 7th – 8th grade, trying to find yourself. And we landed here and the coaches and teachers at Washington Township, they just accepted me and believed in me, like Maryann Shivers and Dawn Bunting.
“I was the first in my family to graduate college and it was because people here cared about me. What they said meant something to me.”
Murphy is the third child of father, Albert Migliore, and mother Gail’s four children. She has two brothers - Bob and Mike - and a sister Terri.
“When he was in the service, we moved everywhere,” Murphy said. “I don’t think we lived in any one town, other than Germany for three years, from 3rd to 6th grade. We would just move from based to base depending on where he got stationed at the time. I was in 3rd grade at three different schools.”
Murphy shares her own childhood experience to add a broader perspective on the school board.
“Kids are resilient,” Murphy said. “We have tough decisions we have to make changes that are going to effect kids, but I’m one of those kids that persevered through changes. Kids will make it, you just have to help them.”
Murphy certainly learned to persevere from her father, as well as developing her leadership skills.
“He received a Bronze Star for his actions during the Tet Offensive,” Murphy said about the surprise attacks by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army against the South Vietnamese army and the United States military in January of 1968. “He would never tell us the whole military story growing up because a lot of Vietnam vets don’t talk about it … they weren’t welcomed back here and they really never got the credit they deserved.”
Murphy did her best to give him the credit he deserves during a recent birthday celebration.
“On his 70th birthday we had this big surprise for him at the Phillies stadium and in that process we had slides converted to pictures and I was a little bit nervous showing him that stuff because I didn’t know what memories it would bring back,” Murphy said about the Vietnam photos. “But it was the most awesome weekend.
“We were all looking at the pictures and my kids were identifying the weapons from Call of Duty and my dad was telling them how they used the different things and it was just a step back in history.
“How he got disabled was from Agent Orange and it effects your breathing so he is on permanent oxygen. It’s that type of leadership from someone who would do it all over again because he is so committed to the freedom of this country is what I grew up in.”
And Murphy is also thankful for growing up cloaked in the nurturing environment of Washington Township.
“I want to thank all the great mentors who I had,” Murphy said. “You keep that cycle of success going when you step up and volunteer and the things that we do with kids.
“I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I didn’t have those people in my life as a kid.”
For tickets to the induction ceremony, call Hall of Fame President Gus Ostrum at (609) 502-0424.