MILWAUKEE — Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy is a busy guy. As president, he guides one of the finest franchises in all of sports. But he found some time to drive down to Milwaukee from Green Bay early on a September morning to visit a high school as a favor to an old friend.
It’s not often that a local high school gets a visit from the Packers president — but Mark Murphy was a special guest at Pius XI High School in September — and the Popes rolled out the welcome mat.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declared Tuesday, September 15th Mark Murphy Day throughout Milwaukee.
Murphy then took questions from the student body.
Question for Murphy: “When was the moment when you felt you had made it?
“I still don’t feel like I’ve made it. I feel like I’m still trying to prove myself,” Murphy said.
There was also a question regarding “Project Pius” — with students telling Murphy they’d humbly accept any direct donations.
Murphy had that covered. He brought signed Packers helmets and footballs — and he had a chat with the Pius XI varsity football team.
“Brandon Bostick was a tight end. I think he was second or third year for us. He was the one who mishandled the onside kick and it was terrible,” Murphy said.
Ah, memories of the NFC Championship Game vs. the Seattle Seahawks — not exactly pleasant!
But going down memory lane with the Pius XI High School principal was much more enjoyable.
Mark Murphy and Paul Geise were college baseball teammates at Colgate University in the mid to late 1970s.
“Spring Break, we took vans from Hamilton all the way to Florida. Stayed in dorms inside the football stadium at LSU,” Murphy said.
“I remember that, and actually played them very competitively. We came down and I think we were defined by their announcers as the Ivy League champions. We weren’t champions, and we weren’t in the Ivy League — but close!” Geise said.
The Colgate baseball team didn’t get to practice outside in early spring because of all the snow in Hamilton, New York — site of the Colgate campus.
“We played LSU and I think they had probably played 20-30 games. We had not practiced outside yet. We used to practice in the hockey rink on the floor — just a cement floor,” Murphy said.
Geise had a feeling that Murphy, who also played football and basketball at Colgate would make his mark — and he did. A defensive back with Washington, Murphy was on two winning Super Bowl teams.
But president of the Packers?
“Well, not president of the Packers — but I think what you saw in Mark was that he was a very good athlete. But more importantly, he was a very smart athlete and I think that’s a very good combination. I always think of athletics as a metaphor for life. You learn to be a part of that community, and I think that has been a great springboard for his success,” Geise said.