Curley coach Sean Murphy named to head Team Maryland in the Big 33 Classic

September 11, 2014|By Katherine Dunn | The Baltimore Sun

Archbishop Curley football coach Sean Murphy jokes that he would rather coach Team Maryland in the Big 33 All-Star Classic two or three years from now.

That way Murphy, named Maryland's head coach for the 58th Annual Big 33 Classic on June 13 at Hersheypark Stadium, wouldn't have so much to live up to.

This summer, Maryland upset Pennsylvania, 31-24, in double overtime with River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen leading the state to only its third win in 11 Big 33 appearances.

"It's Murphy's law that the year we beat them, I've got to follow Brian, so you know Pennsylvania's going to be a little pumped up," Murphy said with a laugh. "They could have given me two years after, but that's all right. It's a great honor. Certainly we've got a good group of kids to choose from. It's a privilege so I'm pumped about it."

In 17 years at Curley, Murphy has a 106-74 record and has won four Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championships. An All-American wide receiver at Towson in 1984, Murphy last took the Friars to the B Conference title in 2011 and they were runners-up last season.

Although Murphy hasn't been part of the Big 33 coaching staff since Maryland and Pennsylvania renewed their rivalry in 2013, he has served on committees and helped recruit players from the MIAA.

One of the biggest challenges for coaches the past two years has been getting the best players to commit to the game. By mid-June, some are already in enrolled in college classes, some are on their way to school and some don't want to give up one of their last free weekends of summer. In addition, some college coaches don't want their players in the game, fearing injury.

Murphy, who coached the Baltimore team in last year's Crab Bowl, said there should still be enough good players in the Class of 2015 to fill the 34-man roster.

"I think Brian did a good job last year letting the kids know what a big deal the game is," Murphy said.

"I think it's still getting the word out that this is a big game. There's a chance it could be on ESPN2 and maybe the Big Ten Network, so once the kids see that it is an important game and there's going to be a lot of media coverage and they realize it's a privilege to play in the game, if they can play, I think those kids will jump on that opportunity if they're selected."

St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf, who coaches Curley's top rival in the MIAA B Conference, will be the offensive coordinator for the Maryland Team.

Other members of the staff include: defensive coordinator Mike Neubeiser (Northwest) and assistants Todd Appel (Fort Hill), Eric Wade (Suitland) and Brendon Ireton (Kent Island). Van Deusen will chair the selection committee.

Maryland first played Pennsylvania in the Big 33 in 1985, but Pennsylvania officials dropped Maryland and played Ohio beginning in 1993. Two years ago, Maryland returned to the rivarly but fell, 58-27, in its first game back.

For Murphy, the history makes the game stand out.

"I went to the game last year and it was neat to see," Murphy said. "It's one of the oldest all-star games and maybe just the history of some of the guys who have played in it. Every Super Bowl has had a player who has played in the Big 33, so that's pretty cool.

"Being part of the history, the tradition of the game is something to look foward to. Getting a chance to coach the best players in the state and representing our state is a big honor. Not every coach gets that opportunity, so I'm just thankful for the opportunity to coach this team."

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun

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