Back in the day, 25-30 years ago to be exact, I can remember having received, by about this time of the month, at least 20 graduation announcements from our Yukon High School Seniors. Those fancy, red envelopes that always contained a senior photo would show up at my Yukon Review office announcing not only that some of my customer’s kids were getting out of high school, but also implied that I needed to send them some money since I am such a great guy! I loved when that generation taught their kids to mail an announcement to everyone they knew, not just for the money that would be sent, but out of respect for their friendship.
Earlier this week, I was thinking about some of Yukon High School’s graduates from the past and what their reaction was when I got some of them some special gifts for the extra time and effort, they gave to me on our Yukon High School newspaper the Insight. When I started the Insight in the early 1990s, I worked with three Yukon High School kids, Jed Hostetler, Kelly Breshears and Dave Murphy. These three kids really stood out with the effort they gave the newspaper and I watched them grow and turn into young adults during the couple of years I worked with them.
Of the ones who stood out the most was Dave Murphy.
Now let me tell you about Murph and the way I saw it.
This 18-year old, mild mannered, very respectful kid liked to write sports. He also liked to take photos of Yukon High School sporting events. Dave really liked to put all his friends who played sports on his sports pages in the Insight. Dave had this thing about treating his high school friends and all the other kids he covered like professional athletes. I always noticed his (copy) and how well written it was. It really made these kids and their athletic accomplishments stand out.
I would always tell Murph that he was really good and that he should think about getting as much sports experience as he could and that maybe someday he could work for ESPN or maybe just intern with Bob Barry Sr. and Bob Barry, Jr. like I tried to do in college. Dave would always listen very intently to me and he always asked a lot of questions. I told him that once he graduated from High School and went on to the University of Oklahoma that he needed to head to the sports information office and find a way to get an internship. I told him how to do it and he sure listened to me.
So. Dave’s senior classmates at Yukon High School had just graduated. As I remember it, I was the General Manager of the Yukon Review on that Monday morning about mid-May. Our 70-year old sports editor Dale had a heart attack at the little downtown Yukon café and was taken to the hospital. He was going to be out for at least two months. Oh, great I thought. What a way to kick off the summer. Then the light bulb above my head turned on! I called Murph. He was out at the swimming pool with his friends. I remember it like it was 28 years ago-because it was! Dave answered the phone and I told him, “Murph, Dale had a heart attack and we need someone to do sports for the paper this summer.”
Dave replied, “Oh man, is he all right?” I said, “He will be fine but, it’s your time. You’re up, you’re ready, you know what do, just make the pages look good and get your ass up here!” “How’s $325 per week?” “You mean I get paid money?” he exclaimed.
Dave Murphy came to the paper in his bathing suit. He worked all summer and did absolutely brilliant work for a kid without a college degree. He then went on to OU to intern in the sports information department then got a job in that department when a rare opening presented itself. Murph then followed Donny Duncan down to Arlington to the BIG XII conference where he became an authority on the conference, with the unique gifts he had to make the conference look great.
Then the phone call I still can’t believe I got was in late 2000. Dave Murphy from the Yukon High School Insight called me from the Federal Express Orange Bowl in Miami. He updated me about his life story and how he got to travel all over America and especially back to talk to the Oklahoma media since the Bob Stoops-led Oklahoma Sooners would be playing in the National Championship football game.
Dave told me he could have never done it if I hadn’t believed in him and told him what to do to get started. I had no words for this special kid. I just always knew he had it in him to do great things and I have always believed in helping people in life and on the pages of their hometown newspaper.
Dave sent me his media kit from Miami. I still have it in my office all these 20 years later. I often read the letter he sent to me. I hope to have him in our office soon in our upcoming “Where are they now?” section.
If you are an Oklahoma Sooners football fan and you remember that game, just always know that a Yukon kid from Yukon High School had a lot to do with making it possible. Thanks for being a good kid from Yukon High School David Murphy.
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?
Yukon Progress Publisher Randy K. Anderson can be reached at (405) 517-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org