Murphy can’t wait for Torres athletics to start


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Matilda Torres High School Athletics Director Jordan Murphy stands in the school’s new gymnasium. Murphy said he can’t wait for his athletes to come on campus and see the new facilities at the first-year school.

Although his athletes are communicating with their coaches via the Internet, Matilda Torres Athletics Director Jordan Murphy can’t wait for the time for his athletes to come on campus to see the athletic amenities.

“I can’t wait for athletics to get started and get kids and the community on campus to see our beautiful facilities,” he said.

Murphy, a 2005 Madera High School graduate, is ready to show off his gymnasium and state-of-the-art pool, as well as a football stadium in a couple of years.

“The gym is amazing,” he said. “It’s massive. The sound system is incredible. We want to host a lot of tournaments and competitions. We can put in eight mats with two more in the wrestling room. We want to bring people out to our facility. If CIF wanted us to hold something here, we would be more than happy here. We have an Olympic-size pool with a great warm-up pool. We have 16 lanes in a state-of-the-art facility. It’s just amazing. It’s terrible we’re in the times we are in because the community and kids can’t see our facilities. You can post a video and do an Instagram feed, but it doesn’t do this campus justice.

“We’re working on the football stadium. The field turf will be put in in the next couple of weeks. Then, they will work on the track and then the bleachers. Next year, it will possibly still be in construction. We are looking for it to be completed in our third year.”

Unfortunately, under current orders from the state, Madera Unified students aren’t on campus and that includes Murphy’s Torres athletes. However, Murphy believe that could be a positive in the long run with athletes getting more detailed instruction from their coaches.

“Right now, with our coaches, we’ve been doing a lot of Zoom meetings with our kids,” he said. “It’s cool to see the coaches communicate with the kids in that way because they get to see the kids, personally. They get to know the ins and outs of that kids. When they get on campus, they will have that relationship, already. The coaches get to break it down. Take football, for instance. You can break a play down and have the kids ask questions. It’s not too fast. When you’re in season, you have to go. Right now, it’s kind of mellow. If the kids ask a question, you can take the time to break it down so they fully get the play and what they have to do.”

Murphy said some sports have begun practicing — football, cheer, girls basketball and cross country — but they are doing so under the Madera Unified School District’s guidelines.

“Everyone brings their own water, practices are only an hour and we make sure all precautions are taken,” Murphy said. “They wear their masks when they come to practice. Anytime they start physical activity, they can take off their mask. Coaches wear their masks at all times unless they are demonstrating an activity. They will be away from the athlete. When we are done with practice, we don’t get into a huddle for a break. They stay six feet apart. We also monitor the parking lot to make sure kids don’t gather up. They stay separated and wait for their parent or guarding to pick them up. We don’t practice every single day. As we continue to go, more teams will get involved with that process. There’s no indoor activity so some sports are holding off until they get the okay. They are all doing the Zoom workouts.”

In the first year, Torres will have a freshmen and frosh/soph combined teams for most sports.

“Freshmen and sophomores this year and every year, we will add a class every year.” he said. “We will be freshmen and junior varsity in all sports, except football where we will be just freshmen. Some sports like wrestling, some kids can compete at a varsity level to compete for Valley and State. They can all have the possibility to qualify for those big meets.”

Torres will also share football facilities with Madera and Madera South during the next two seasons until their stadium is built.

“We’re going to share facilities with Madera and Madera South for football,” he said. “They have been great with sharing facilities. Andrea and John are great to communicate with. I’ve known them forever. The connection is there in knowing the community. I’ve lived in every part of this town. When people talk to me, they know who I am. I want to get out in the community and help out. The community gives so much, it’s time for us to give back to them.”

Murphy is a Madera kid. He grew up in Madera, graduated from Madera and came home to work. After college, he was the athletic trainer at Madera South before becoming the athletic director at Liberty High School in the Madera Ranchos and at Chowchilla High School. He couldn’t be happier returning to Madera.

“It’s awesome to be back in Madera,” he said. “I love the town. I went away for college. I came back and Madera blessed me with a job right out of college. From there, I got to work with Marty Bitter, Andrea Devine and John Fernandez, all at Madera South. I went to Liberty and it was amazing to go to these different schools to learn so much. I’m using the information I learned at Liberty and Chowchilla and bring that back to Madera to grow this school in this amazing facility and try to give back as much as I can because Madera gave me so much.”

Now, Murphy is trying to take what he has learned to Torres and start building the athletics foundation for the new school.

“It’s pretty awesome to start things off,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be here. I’ve been at different school districts. To come back home is amazing. Just being a part of this school, being the first one here, being able to hire the coaches and start those traditions is amazing. We want to do things right, right off the bat. We want the coaches to Pursue Victory with Honor. We want transformational coaches. We want them to be leaders on and off campus. Those are the things we want to bring to our student-athletes. We don’t want them to worry about winning a Valley Championship, we want to make sure they leave campus with traits they can use throughout their lives.”

In addition, many of the coaches at Matilda Torres have Madera ties, whether they are Madera or Madera South graduates or have coached at either of the schools.

“I tried to talk to as many Madera people I could when I got this job,” he said. “I had people reach out to me and thought they would be a good fit. These people killed it in the interview process. Bringing them back to this campus knowing they are from Madera and are for Madera is great. They are going to be great leaders to our student/athletes. Charles Rigby already started helping out with a Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Sean Carlson is the head of our PE department. We’re trying to get as many coaches on campus as possible, but try to keep it local, as well. The coaches are going to know the community and what they need.”

Now, all he needs are the student/athletes to come attend the new school.

“When you walk through the front doors of the schools, you feel like you’re on a college campus,” he said. “The campus is so huge. You have a large center section where the kids will have lunch and hang out. The cafeteria is set up like a food court and it has a grab-and-go section. We have a theater and it’s the first one. Construction is still going on that.”

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