Revitalizing Strength: Unveiling Fred Murphy

Strength coach Fred Murphy stands in front of a mural in the student-athlete weight room at the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. Murphy was recently hired to lead strength and conditioning at Albion College (Photo illustration by Killian Altayeb).

If you’re a student-athlete, chances are you’ll eventually train with Strength Coach Fred Murphy. Murphy started on Jan. 16, having accepted the position the moment it was offered to him. 

“I had applied for the job way back in June. Once the fall semester was out of the way, I heard from Albion and was like, ‘yeah, I’m definitely still interested,’” Murphy said. 

Before dedicating himself to Albion athletes’ success, Murphy was the director of athletic performance at Ascension Borgess, where he worked with a wide spectrum of athletes at varying performance levels. In his career, he also worked as the minor league strength and conditioning coach for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. 

Murphy first became interested in strength training after playing football in college. Although he started out studying to become a computer electrical engineer, he would eventually go on to study exercise science and physiology at Western Michigan University, where his career officially began. 

“I’ve always loved being around strength conditioning after being an athlete myself. I didn’t have access to somebody like me as a kid,” Murphy said. “It could have been a hindrance, but now it’s one extra tool in an athlete’s arsenal.”

Over the course of his career, Murphy has valued athletes’ dedication and interest in setting personal goals.

 “Energy and commitment to the process is what has the athletes coming in. They’re ready to go, they’re energized, they’re taking value in what they’re getting and what they have access to,” Murphy said.

However, Murphy added that he also understands after years of experience that it’s difficult for students to adopt the sports term of “trusting the process.” Therefore, he does his part by answering questions and fostering open communication. 

“You can’t just tell an athlete to trust the process. You’ve got to explain it to them,” Murphy said. “Take them through the steps and then let them see it because that’s where they’ll get value and that’s where they learn how to trust the process.”

What pulled Murphy to Albion College was a mixture of what he said was “a thick amount of lineage” and “the color purple.” 

“After meeting the staff here and bumping into a couple of athletes that were actually in town, I was like, yeah, this just feels right,” Murphy said. “I love the environment and I love the facilities. There’s a lot here that can be really useful.”

While using said facilities, Murphy said he tries to convey a tone of safety and inclusivity in every workout and training session. 

“I tell them it’s all about safety. I’m here to push you. I’m here to push your limits, to get what you need,” Murphy said. “You’re never perfect, but you’re always striving to be perfect.”

Lacrosse player, Timmy Salinas and Haslett senior, said he is excited for the opportunity to “have someone who knows what he’s talking about.”

“He has a good background and focuses on nutrition, which I can appreciate,” Salinas said. “He’s also very knowledgeable and enjoyed talking to me about lifting.” 

When Murphy isn’t in the weight room or meeting with athletes and coaches, he’s learning how to be better at his line of work. The long hours have helped him adopt the motto of doing what you love and loving what you do.

“I don’t feel that at any given point, you’re done learning. If my wife was here, she’d probably tell you that my nose is always in a book or in a research article,” Murphy said. “I delegate time for my family, but I’m always trying to learn what else we can improve on the body.”

For those who aren’t athletes or just starting their strength training journey, the new strength coach is open to helping students find the right motivation and resources. Murphy said he wants those who fit into either category to understand that going to the gym should be about finding yourself rather than an unattainable goal. 

“The first thing I’d recommend when starting out is to figure out your why. If you don’t have any experience, you’re going to have to take it slow because the last thing you want to do is walk into a gym and hurt yourself,” Murphy said. “People walk in and end up hurting themselves, and then they’re completely turned away from the gym.”

Murphy added that he is ready to collaborate with athletes and coaches moving forward. Additionally, he plans to incorporate his past experiences into helping Albion College find not only its outer but inner strength.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the future unfold, helping a lot of athletes and getting to be a part of the Brit family for an extended period of time,” Murphy said.

About Killian Altayeb 25 Articles
Killian Altayeb is from Novi, Michigan and is a second-year student at Albion College. They are a Biochemistry Major with a journalistic interest in all things public health. Contact Killian via email at NA12@albion.edu.

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