Valerie Murphy, '85
2019 Athletic Hall of Fame inductee
Valerie (Weems) Murphy, a native of Ellenwood Georgia, is the daughter of Lewis and Lizzie Weems. Valerie is the third of eight children, all of whom are very close and very athletic and have had the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level. Notably, Melvin Weems who played with West Virginia Tech in 1988 and helped lead the team to the WVIAC regular season and conference tournament titles. Sports, particularly basketball, rings strong through Valerie’s entire family.
Coming from humble beginnings, Valerie played basketball from dawn to dusk on dirt courts with bicycle rims and plywood backboards. As a “tomboy,” she went toe-to-toe with any kid, any size, boys included. Her basketball career started at Morrow Junior High, where she was a starter and led the undefeated Bobcats in scoring and rebounds for two years. In high school, Valerie contributed significantly to the success of the Fulton High School Varsity Lady Redbirds basketball team. She made the team her ninth-grade year, started all four years and gained many honors and leadership awards. She also played softball and ran track.
Valerie was heavily recruited by schools in the north and the southeastern United States, but decided on West Virginia Tech because of Coach Tom Sutherland’s persistence and his genuine interest in her success with basketball and academics. For example, Coaches Sutherland, Kania and Watkins would ensure that the “home front” (kids recruited out of Atlanta, which included Sedale Threatt, Antione Scott, Arthur Culbreath, etc.) would get to and from Tech safely by picking players up in Atlanta and bringing them back to Montgomery each school break.
Valerie’s career at Tech was prolific, and her role in the team’s success was noted in her nomination to the WVAIC Division II second team all-conference for the 1982-83 basketball season. Moreover, her involvement with the program aided in the development of her strong character, drive for success, desire to give back to the community and, most importantly, her faith. She also served as a student-coach for Tech her last semester.
Valerie graduated from WVU Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer management in 1985, which solidified a long and successful career in the information technology world and academics. Valerie also holds a Master of Business with a concentration in project management from Kaplan University (2013) and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in business (ABD) from Saint Leo University (2019). She has worked for many Fortune 100 companies, consulting firms and has spent the last eight years working for a construction equipment company called Doosan Bobcat, supporting their IT operational functions throughout North America.
Aside from working as an IT professional, Valerie has given back to the community by volunteering with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as a coach for recreational organizations and local churches. She has also acted as the assistant coach for a local girls’ varsity high school basketball team. Valerie continues to contribute to basketball by holding workshops and conducting individual developmental coaching for girls. Valerie is also known as a philanthropist. She is the co-founder of a community outreach organization called Conversation Pieces where she aims to relieve the pain of community social problems by providing a platform for knowledge exchange and empowerment. Valerie also teaches adult learners computer applications at a local career college.
Valerie is committed to her Christian faith, accepting and following the teachings of Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior. She attends House of Hope Atlanta, where she serves under Pastor E. Dewey Smith. Her love for God is steadfast and continues to sustain her as it did then, and now, and forever more.
Valerie’s biggest fan and supporter is her husband of 32 years, Sanders Murphy. They have two adult children, Tresmond and Treyana, and five grandchildren, Jeremiah, Charlotte, Aniya, Kenzie and Matthew. She loves her family and being with them is her greatest joy.