WITH his record of inspiring on the pitch, it should come as no surprise that Michael Murphy wants his new role at Letterkenny Institute to mirror that of a successful team.
Murphy was recently appointed as the Head of Sport at LYIT and the Donegal captain has slipped seamlessly into his early days in the role.
The job description looked for a person to ‘lead, direct and manage the sporting activities and development of related resources and facilities’.
Murphy is a man with vision and ambition as he looks to oversee what appears an exciting period of sporting development at LYIT.
“I knew it was a much sought-after post and I’m really excited,” Murphy told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub.
“I want to put the best foot forward for LYIT, for Donegal and for the north west as a whole.
“I’ve been a part of a team my whole life in terms of football and I’ll be with another team here. I’m happy to be a part of the team and trying to drive forward.”
Much of the focus for the Glenswilly man in his new post will centre on the competitive sports teams at LYIT, but he wants to broaden his own horizons as well as those of the institute.
“We have lot of individual athletes here who represent LYIT too, so there’ll be overseeing the logistical and planning elements of that,” he said of the job.
“We have a sports scholarship scheme and we’ll have new entrants coming in and I’ll be looking at ways of trying to support those people. Sports scholarships can be fantastic when utilised correctly. I want to develop one here that really supports the sporting talent.
“I’m a sports fanatic anyway and I want to find ways of supporting all the sports people.”
Murphy graduated from DCU with a Degree in Physical Education in 2013 and last year successfully undertook a Masters in Sports and Exercise Psychology with Ulster University Jordanstown.
Since 2017, the Glenswilly man managed the men’s and ladies Gaelic football teams at LyIT and he now takes on a full-time role at the Port Road campus.
He is acutely aware of the needs of the students.
“A lot of the time the support you need is just a little bit of a guide,” he said.
“We’d like to do that with our mentoring. The main aim is to get the students to the highest level within their sport and also in their academic education.
“You have financial supports, which are great and which are really needed. You have other supports like nutrition, strength and conditioning, mentoring and academic support. I always like to put myself in the shoes of the people who’ll be availing of it; you’re thinking of a 17 or 18-year-old going away to make a big move in the world. I was that person who went away like that.”
There are around 350 students on the sports courses at LyIT with a new Masters in Sports Performance Practice in its first year, while there is a High Performance Suite in which students conduct their practical work.
Plans are in the pipeline for a new sports-specific campus at Knocknamona – a project for which €370,000 of funding was allocated last year under the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund.
Murphy said: “That is something that is exciting everyone. There have already been massive developments here for sport.
“Things that motivate me is seeing the benefits for the students and staff here, but also for Donegal and the north west region.
“We want to engage the community too. That’s a vital part of the ethos we have at LYIT.”
Beyond the competitive side, Murphy wants the sports facilities to have an appeal for all students attending LYIT.
He said: “The big craze in society at the moment is an overall healthy lifestyle for everyone else, the recreational athletes who maybe don’t want to be a part of a competitive team. They might want to utilise the gym or have some social interaction.
“There are a huge amount of good people here. LYIT is really ready to continue to progress.”Tags: