Waubonsie Valley's Murphy just kept working

  • Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy will coach his last football game before retirement on Friday night.

    Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy will coach his last football game before retirement on Friday night. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 10/25/2019 1:24 PM

Trust him. The man knows what he's doing.

Maybe we'll see it one last time.


Urgent shouts to "Hurry up! C'mon, get going!" rain down from the Kerner Stadium grandstand at Waubonsie Valley, as Warriors football coach Paul Murphy calls a run play with his team trailing late in the fourth quarter.

It may or may not go anywhere, but it sets up a halfback pass, or a play-action down-out-and-up for a touchdown. A defensive stand, a couple shrewdly saved timeouts and in the final minute another Warriors score for the win based on something Murphy and his staff saw back in the first quarter.

If patience is a virtue there are few coaches more virtuous than Murphy, who will be coaching the final game of a 30-year career as a head coach Friday against Naperville North in Aurora.

"I could thank my dad for that. He taught me that patience was the most important thing," Murphy said of his late father, Chuck, who assisted Paul during his 15-year stint at Marmion but passed away before his son's 2005 debut at Waubonsie.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

"I've just carried that with me my whole career as a coach, that patience was very, very important and keeping an even keel also was very important, because (players) are going to react the way I react."

One needs an even keel when entering the playoffs seeded 30th and 31st as Waubonsie Valley was in 2015 and 2016, respectively -- before beating the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

Mentors? Early in his overall 43-year coaching career Murphy assisted the late Jack Lewis at Immaculate Conception and Joe Bunge at Naperville Central.

A graduate of Oak Forest High School (in its first graduating class) and Western Illinois University, he served as John Thorne's running backs and offensive line coach at North Central College. At Marmion he got a kick out of battling Montini and his friend, coach Chris Andriano.


Retiring next spring as a business teacher after 41 years in the classroom, Murphy won his 100th game with Waubonsie last week over Metea Valley. He brings an overall mark of 194-111 into Friday and will finish with 12 playoff appearances in 15 seasons at Waubonsie, 19 total appearances.

In 2015 Murphy was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, a no-brainer well before the required 25-year minimum. After this season he'll evaluate his options to continue as an assistant.

Two common threads frequently emerged when Murphy spoke after a game, win or lose: The necessity of playing all 48 minutes, and of positive practice habits.

This absolutely matched his philosophy of using football to create solid citizens ready to challenge the world after high school.

"You just keep playing and you just keep working to get better," Murphy said, "and good things will happen to those who keep working."

Addison Trail tough

Addison Trail Class of 2008, Mike DeStefano impressed his coaches with grit typical of Blazers football teams.

"He definitely is a true Blazer football player," said Addison Trail coach Paulie Parpet. In DeStefano's time, Paulie was the defensive coordinator for his father, Paul Parpet Sr.

"He never was the biggest, he never was the fastest, but he just played with a great attitude," the younger Parpet said. "That's just Mike. And he still continues to fight to this day."

After the summer of his freshman year at Illinois State, on July 8, 2009 -- Parpet Sr. remembers the day -- DeStefano was a passenger in a vehicle involved in an automobile accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. Using a wheelchair the past 10 years, he still has minimal movement despite continuous therapy sessions, Paulie Parpet said.

"My deal with him is when he's up and able to walk again he'll be one of my assistant coaches," Parpet said. He called the former defensive back "smart as a whip."

DeStefano will be at Friday's game, though. As the Bears did earlier this season at Soldier Field, DeStefano will be recognized during Addison Trail's season finale against Morton.

Parpet Sr. said DeStefano is the same as he was in high school -- great personality, striving to get better.

"Mike DeStefano was Addison Trail tough, and he's been that tough since that accident, too," he said.


Twitter: @doberhelman1

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.