Sometimes employees earn a plaque or a watch for their years of service. Some even get bronze busts or full-scale statues made in their likeness.
Kevin Murphy, however, has been immortalized on a t-shirt.
Before the start of the school year, Greenfield High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members were thinking of new items to sell at the school store. One presented the idea of putting Murphy on a shirt in the same way Nike has done with its “Hair-itage” collection, which includes former Milwaukee Brewers Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers.
The shirts are faceless images with only the player’s facial hair and hat printed on the shirt’s chest.
Murphy, whose long locks and bushy mustache, was a natural fit for the design, and the t-shirt, appropriately being marketed as “The Murph,” was born.
“If this ugly mug can make the school some money, more power to them,” said Murphy, who has been a good sport throughout the process.
The FBLA is selling multiple versions of the shirt for $15 in the school store. According to FBLA advisor Lee Kleszczynski, the first order of between 60 and 70 shirts nearly sold out within a few days, and a second order for another couple dozen has been placed.
“We’re always looking for some new ideas for t-shirts that kids would have fun getting instead of the generic Greenfield High School t-shirt,” Kleszczynski said. “When the kids thought of the Nike shirt, it was, “Who’s got iconic facial hair at Greenfield High School.
“Murphy’s been here for I don’t know how many years. So many people know him. A majority of the sales are football players that work for him. He’s got the respect of a lot of kids.”
Murphy, a special education teacher, has been a coach at GHS for more than two decades. He’s an assistant football and wrestling coach now, and has coached just about every sport at some point during his career.
He insists he does not have “The Murph” hanging in his closet, but his wife, daughter and some family friends have gotten their hands on what is becoming a GHS wardrobe necessity.
“I was elated that the came up with it and wanted to do it,” Murphy said. “It makes you feel proud that the kids wanted to do it. Then I was kind of back-offish. What am I getting in to? But it turned out really well it’s been a big hit.
Murphy said he sees football players and wrestlers wearing the shirt daily, and even had a female student – perhaps a “Murph-ette” – donning one this week.
“I get comments from the staff too, telling me it’s awesome and asking where they get one,” Murphy said. “Maybe we’ll have a Murphy t-shirt day. They’re going hot and heavy.”
The shirts were made available at the first varsity football game of the season back in August. Murphy waited until after the shirt’s debut to get a haircut and trim up his facial hair.
“I had to look presentable at work and it was miserable keeping it that long,” he said. “Maybe by the winter (that look) will be back and the shirt will be represented.”
Money made from the shirts goes back into the school store’s funds to purchase more items to sell, according to Kleszczynski.