In 2015, the football team for Harding University High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, was struggling. The team had a record of 1-10, and changes had to be made.
Sam Greiner was brought in to help the team get back on its feet. But what he actually ended up doing what turning someone else’s life around.
The team’s quarterback at that point was Braheam Murphy, who was a sophomore at the time. Though his football skills were incredible, his eligibility to play was plagued by a problem: his grades.
Murphy ended up being kicked off the team due to his bad grades.
Coach Greiner couldn’t understand this decision, telling CNN, “I was like blown away because he was so smart.”
He got to know Murphy, and for someone as smart and passionate as him to be failing school didn’t sit right with Greiner. Something must’ve been going on to have this be the case.
The coach would from time to time drive Murphy home from practice and games, and it would always be to a different location; it was never the same one twice. This also concerned Greiner, who eventually, asked Murphy where he actually lived.
Then, Murphy found the courage to open up to his coach about what was going on.
Murphy told him everything. It turns out that his mother had passed away when he was 5 years old, and his home life became difficult after his father remarried and had another daughter who was born with cerebral palsy.
These factors contributed to how the family struggled, and by the time the student was in high school, he was borderline homeless. He would stay at different locations every day, whether it was a friend’s house, or somewhere with his older sister, who was also facing a similar situation. His sister later graduated high school and moved in with her boyfriend.
But the athlete seemed to be stuck in this rut, and there wasn’t much he could do about it. So Greiner knew he had to do something.
He talked to his wife, Connie, and they came to a decision that would change Murphy’s life.
Coach Greiner decided to take Murphy in.
They invited Murphy to stay with them, and one day the student asked him if he could make it permanent.
“You can stay here as long as you want,” the coach replied. And that’s exactly what ended up happening.
It was a bit weird at first, but eventually, Murphy became a part of the family. The couple gave him his own bedroom, but he would do chores, and babysit their two young kids once in awhile. The couple’s children gravitated towards him too, and Murphy wasn’t afraid to admit that he plays Barbie with them.
With all of this, the athlete felt much better as time went on. Having not just a stable home, but a supportive family too improved his life immensely.
“I just felt like when there was someone caring for me, it made me want to do better in school, and life,” Murphy said. His grades went from failing to a near 4.0 GPA, and he was able to join the football team again.
And in 2017, he would lead them to victory.
Led by Murphy, the high school football team won its first state title in 64 years.
With his good grades and spectacular football skills, he got a scholarship to play football at West Point!
— Braheam Murphy (@BraheamMurphy) December 20, 2017
“I want him to be successful,” Greiner said about Murphy. “I want him to be a vessel that other people want to look to.”
All the coach wants is for Murphy to take the leadership and teamwork skills he has for football, and use them in real life situations. And he’s doing a pretty good job at that.
Murphy will no doubt be more motivated than ever to perform well at college. But none of this would have been possible had it not been for Coach Greiner, who simply wanted one of his players to get back on track.
Now, Murphy not only has more people than ever supporting him, but a bright future ahead of him too.