Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former UT soccer player killed in South Africa set bar high

Nicole Murphy was one of two deceased St. Thomas More High graduates honored Wednesday in Lafayette, La.

Brad Kemp | Lafayette (La.) Advertiser

Nicole Murphy was one of two deceased St. Thomas More High graduates honored Wednesday in Lafayette, La.

TAMPA — As her team advanced to one NCAA Tournament after another, eventually winning a national championship, Nicole Murphy was the fittest of the bunch.

The former University of Tampa soccer player set the standard, spending extra time in the gym and even showing up to practice one day after completing a marathon. Murphy's teammates tried outdoing her at anything fitness-related, though they knew it wasn't possible.

"She just always expected more from herself, which made her teammates expect more from ourselves," said Shelby Kuni, a former UT player.

Murphy, 24, died Tuesday after being struck by a car while attending the World Cup in South Africa with her father and siblings. Her brother is in an intensive care unit and is expected to recover, the family said. One of her sisters suffered a concussion.

The family believes a drunken driver hit them while they were in a designated walking area.

Murphy graduated magna cum laude from UT in 2008, and was two years into medical school at LSU-New Orleans. Her brother Lucas, 27, who was not on the trip, said Murphy also was in the Army reserves.

Lucas Murphy thinks his family made it to two World Cup games. They would have been at today's United States-Slovenia match.

"It was her dream to go there and do something like that," Murphy's brother said.

Murphy was a four-year starter at UT. The Lafayette, La., native played defender for the Spartans and helped lead them to the Division II national title in 2007. Only two others played more minutes than she did that year.

"She had the energy to go the full 90 minutes," UT coach Gerry Lucey said.

Murphy played in 84 career games, scoring five goals. Her senior year, she made the All-Sunshine State Conference first team and was an all-tournament player.

Assistant coach Don Tobin remembers Murphy making a big stop in a postseason game en route to the championship. She always seemed to do something special on the field, he said.

"When the game was on the line, she was there," Tobin said, "whether it was kicking a ball off the goal line and saving us, or getting us a goal."

Friend and teammate Shannon Agnew spoke to Murphy, or "Murph" as she was known by the team, just days before she left for South Africa.

"She loved to travel, so I wasn't even surprised that she had tickets to South Africa," she said. "Murph was just excited to go over and see soccer like that and just be traveling the world."

While in college, the two competed in their first triathlon. They agreed to stick together, but Agnew said she should have known better.

Murphy waited for her at the finish line, Agnew recalled, "with a big dumb grin on her face."

Funeral arrangements haven't been announced yet. The University of Tampa will honor Murphy at an alumni game in August.

Kevin Smetana can be reached at (813) 661-2439 or ksmetana@sptimes.com.

Former UT soccer player killed in South Africa set bar high 06/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Republicans react to 'CBO score' of health care bill

    Blogs

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .< …

  2. Gov. Rick Scott vetoes 'liquor wall' repeal

    Blogs
  3. 'Liquor wall' staying up in Florida after Gov. Scott's veto

    Gubernatorial

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's liquor wall, which was been around since Prohibition ended, will remain standing after a bill to tear it down was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott.

  4. To catch a poacher: Florida wildlife officers set up undercover gator farm sting

    Wildlife

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, state wildlife officers created the ultimate undercover operation.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  5. Trump has Mar-a-Lago employee working on government trip, report says

    Blogs

    The following is from Buzzfeed News:

    A top Mar-a-Lago employee is also working for the government to help prepare for President Trump's visit to Taormina, Italy, for the G-7 Summit — an unconventional arrangement that further blurs the line between the president's business empire and the White House.