Feb. 20, 2007
Seniors Meghan Murphy (Centennial, Colo.) and Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind.) are the recent recipients of $2,000 stipends applicable to graduate studies - as presented by the BIG EAST Conference, in recognition of their status as Notre Dame's nominees for the conference's annual female and male scholar-athlete awards. Louisville field hockey midfielder Jessica Lynn Javelet and Villanova middle-distance runner Drew Eckman received the BIG EAST's top scholar-athete awards (and corresponding $4,000 postgraduate stipends) for 2006-07.
Murphy - an Academic All-American who carries a 3.74 cumulative grade-point average, as a double major in anthropology and science pre-professional studies - opened her fourth and final season with the Irish women's lacrosse team by playing a lead role in last week's 10-9, sudden-death overtime road win over 12th-ranked James Madison. She had two goals and then assisted on a Jillian Byers score in the second overtime, giving the 5th-ranked Irish a 9-8 lead on the Dukes. Her career totals with the Irish now include 33 goals and 14 assists (47 points) in 38 games played (25 starts).
After bouncing back from a serious knee injury in 2005 an making a position switch from midfield to attack, Murphy turned in a career-best year in 2006 that included career-high in goals (14) and assists (8). Her biggest goal of that 2006 season came versus Syracuse, when she scored with no time left on the clock to give Notre Dame an 11-10 victory. Murphy's other career stats include 42 ground balls, 22 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers. She was a member of Notre Dame's 2004 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and then helped the Irish reach the NCAA semifinals in 2006.
Her junior-year honors included being selected for third team Academic All-America status (from the College Sports Information Directors of America) and receiving the athletic department's Chris Zorich Award - in recognition of community service excellence. She currently serves as vice president of Notre Dame's Student-Athlete Advisory Councill (SAAC).
Murphy also was named first team Academic All-District V (by CoSIDA) in 2006 and was placed on the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association honor roll. The two-time dean's list student is a member of the anthropology honors program at Notre Dame and has been accepted into medical school at Georgetown, while also awaiting word on her applications to UCLA, Colorado, Harvard, Yale, Baylor, NYU, Tulane and Loyola-Chicago. Murphy has been nominated for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship and the NCAA's prestigious Walter Byers Scholarship.
One of Murphy's most recent volunteer activities involved helping organize a 2006 fall-break trip with fellow Notre Dame student-athletes, in order to assist the relief efforts in New Orleans by cleaning and gutting homes that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Her other extensive service activities have included efforts in the South Bend community and in her hometown area of Denver. At Notre Dame, she has been involved with the YWCA Women's Shelter Spring Cleaning, the Cavanaugh/Zahm Winter Carnival and several projects at the Center for the Homeless, including cooking and serving meals, spending time at Thanksgiving with the children and helping coordinate a shoebox assembly - first as part of a class and then as a SAAC project that delivered several carloads of personal items for use at the Center.
Working with children has been a focus of Murphy's service work, as she has been involved with holiday parties for kids at both the St. Joseph's Pediatric and Memorial Hospital Pediatric wings, as well as Notre Dame's annual Christmas Pediatric Party. She also has participated in the Adopt-A-Family program that purchases Christmas gifts and coordinates a Christmas dinner for a local family.
In her hometown area of Denver, the Cherry Creek High School product has spent her summer vacations working as a volunteer at the Skyridge Medical Center, with the Sixth-Floor Recovery for Spinal and Orthopedic Surgery (in 2004). In 2005, she worked with the University Hills Rotary Club ('05), chaperoning a Zoo Day for children with physical and mental disabilities.
Murphy and Georgetown's Chloe Asselin were the only women's lacrosse players to receive a 2007 BIG EAST postgraduate scholarship while Brown is joined by two others - Cincinnati's Marcel Kleiner and UConn's Tristan Jones - among the recipients from BIG EAST men's swimming and diving teams.
Brown owns nearly-identical academic credentials to Murphy, with a 3.72 cumulative GPA while pursuing the same double major (science pre-professional and anthropology) and being a prospective medical-school student (he has applied to Indiana and Vanderbilt). One of the most versatile performers in the history of the Notre Dame men's swimming team, Brown has served as a team tri-captain in 2006-07. He twice helped set the Notre Dame record in the 800-yard freestyle - first at the 2006 BIG EAST meet (6:35.47) and then last week at the '07 league meet (6:32.67) - and previously held the school record in the 500-yard freestyle.
A four-year regular at the BIG EAST Championships, Brown's 10 career all-BIG EAST performances rank second-best in the history of the Notre Dame program - trailing only his classmate Tim Kegelman (12). He helped the Irish win BIG EAST team titles in 2005 and '06, before narrowly missing a third straight team title last week (West Virginia's winning margin over ND was just 4.5 points).
Brown closed his career by posting four all-BIG EAST finishes at the 2007 league meet. After combining with John Lytle, Andrew Hoffman and Jeff Wood on the runner-up 800 free relay team (school record 6:32.67), Brown added a personal second-place finish with an NCAA "B" consideration time of 4:26.13 in the 500 free. Lytle (1:38.06) and Brown (1:38.26) then finished first and third, respectively, in the 200 free, with each besting the previous Notre Dame record (set earlier in the meet by Lytle, during the 800 free relay). Brown's 10th career all-BIG EAST performance came as a member of the third-place team in the 400 free relay (2:59.59; school record).
An impressive all-around regular season in 2006-07 saw Brown post 12 first-place finishes in eight different events - including four wins in the 200 free and two each in the 500 free, the 1,000 free and the 400 free relay, in addition to showing his versatility with other wins in the 200 butterfly, the 200 individual medley, the 200 free relay and the 400 butterfly relay (ND record time of 3:23.76). His most noteworthy regular-season meet came versus 18th-ranked Purdue, as he claimed first-place finishes in the 200 free and 200 IM.
Brown's junior-year highlights included being a member of the record-setting 800 free relay BIG EAST champs, also finishing as the BIG EAST runner-up in the 200 free (1:37.54; 3rd in ND history) and totaling 26 wins during the regular season. His sophomore year featured NCAA "B" times in the 200 free (1:38.64) and the 500 free (4:25.89), with those times earning him third and second place (respectively) at the BIG EAST meet. He also won 15 regular-season races in six different events during that sophomore season.
As a freshman, Brown led the team in points scored (465.5) and dual-meet race victories (20) while setting the Notre Dame record during his BIG EAST third-place finish in the 500 free (4:25.83; NCAA provisional time). He anchored the record-setting 800 free relay (6:42.55; 3rd at BIG EAST meet), with his other top results at the 2004 BIG EAST meet including second in the 400 IM, third in the 200 and 1,650 free, and sixth in the 200 butterfly. He was honored with the Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp Award, which is presented to an outstanding freshman who best exemplifies vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame.
A member of the Notre Dame athletic department's Academic Honors faculty mentoring program, Brown also is a member of the Beta Chapter Lambda Alpha National Honors Society for Anthropology and was selected to attend the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Leadership Institute program in 2006. He is the assistant executive director of the Irish Fighting for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital awareness group and attended the 2005 Ben May Institute for Cancer Research Symposium. A member of Notre Dame's Student Government Academic Affairs Committee, Brown presented a 2005 undergraduate research report to the Notre Dame Graduate School Trustees, alongside vice president and associate provost Dennis Jacobs. He also is a team member of Notre Dame's Relay for Life program and participated in "Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April."
Brown came to Notre Dame as one of the top swimmers in the state of Indiana. The Western High School product ranked sixth in the U.S. among 17- and 18-year olds in the 500 free, as well as 11th in the 400 IM (during 2003-04). He finished 22nd in the 400-meter IM at 2004 USA Swimming Summer Nationals (also 28th in the 400 free).
Six previous Notre Dame student-athletes have received the BIG EAST/Aéropostale Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, most recently in 2004 when women's soccer defender Vanessa Pruzinsky was presented with the prestigious honor and the corresponding $4,000 stipend. Notre Dame's other recipients of the BIG EAST's top academic award have included: soccer goalkeeper Jen Renola ('97), track hurdler Errol Williams ('98), soccer forward Jenny Streiffer ('00), basketball center Ruth Riley ('01) and softball catcher Jarrah Myers ('02).
Notre Dame's 24 annual recipients of the respective men's and women's $2,000 BIG EAST scholarships (or $4,000, if applicable) include four women's soccer players - Renola, Shannon Boxx ('99), Streiffer ('00) and Pruzinsky ('04) - and the following six men's cross country and/or track-and-field student-athletes: shot putter Mike Fleisch ('96), distance runners Jeff Hojnacki ('97) and Marc Striowski ('02), hurdler Williams ('98), pole vaulter Mike Brown ('99) and distance runner Todd Mobley ('04).
Other previous recipients of the men's stipend have included swimmers Ray Fitzpatrick ('00) and Patrick Davis ('06), baseball pitchers Mike Naumann ('01) and J.P. Gagne ('03), and tennis player Brent D'Amico ('05). The other seven women's recipients include softball third base/outfielder Jenna Knudsen ('96), volleyball outside hitter Jaimie Lee ('98), Riley ('01), Myers ('02), rower Ashlee Warren ('03), and distance runners Kerry Meagher ('05) and Stephanie Madia ('06).
The BIG EAST also sponsors an annual Scholar-Athlete Award in men's and women's basketball, with four former Irish players - forward Pat Garrity ('98), center Riley ('01), and guards Alicia Ratay ('03) and Megan Duffy ('07) - receiving those honors.