Guest Speaker Noah Murdock

Guest Speaker Noah Murdock
Posted on 12/08/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Guest Speaker Noah Murdock

Recently, for the second consecutive year, the Sports & Society Distance Learning class taught by Marc Lambert had the privilege of hosting a guest speaker whose story of perseverance and determination resonated with students from the three schools collaborating within the framework of the course.  After being drafted in the 38th round out of Colonial Heights (VA) High School by the Washington Nationals, Noah Murdock pitched collegiately at the University of Virginia. As a Cavalier, Murdock was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2017. Unfortunately, near the end of his first college season, Murdock suffered an injury that led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery. As a result, he saw limited action as a sophomore, but Murdock's resilience and strong work ethic allowed him to return to the rotation and emerge as Virginia’s "Friday night starter" his junior season. After being selected by the Kansas City Royals in the seventh round of the 2019 draft, Murdock reported to his parent team’s Burlington, North Carolina affiliate. Competing in the Appalachian League, in his first professional season, Murdock posted a 3-1 record and notched a save. He finished 2019 with an impressive 2.17 ERA and recorded 43 strikeouts while allowing only 11 walks in 37.1 innings of work.

Following the cancelation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, Murdock was left to train on his own and wait for his opportunity to return to the diamond.  Fortunately, in October he was invited to a camp the Royals hosted for their top 50 prospects.  Pitching in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Murdock excelled, recording several pitches at 99 miles per hour and impressing organizational leaders in the process.  

Given the unique logistics brought about by the current pandemic, Murdock was able to simultaneously share his story with classmates from Amsterdam, Oppenheim Ephratah-St. Johnsville (OESJ), and Granville via a Webex meeting.  Throughout his presentation, Murdock stressed the importance of goal setting, relationship building, personal reflection, and remaining true to oneself.  In the process, he responded to questions posed by students at each of the aforementioned sites.  Given many of the 18 individuals enrolled in the class are high school student-athletes, Murdock’s insight provided helpful hints that, if implemented, can contribute to success in a variety of endeavors both within and outside of the athletic realm. 

Granville senior and talented two-sport athlete Josh Nelson reflected on Murdock’s message, stating, “I thought that it was really cool to get a chance to talk to someone that could potentially be in the major leagues someday. His insight and knowledge of baseball was extremely impressive. It was interesting to hear about Noah’s life story and how he got to the point that he is currently at. One helpful message that I took away from listening to him speak was to never give up. Noah had to overcome Tommy John surgery, which is a major procedure, especially for a pitcher.” 

OESJ junior and South Troy Dodger Mason Snell echoed this sentiment, commenting, “Noah was amazing to talk to.  His perspective about a variety of topics was eye opening.  I wish Noah could be in class with us every day!”

Another student impacted by Murdock’s message was Amsterdam’s Carson Cutugno, a senior pitcher who recently signed his National Letter of Intent and accepted a scholarship to play at Wake Forest University.  According to Cotugno, “Having the chance to learn from someone who is doing what I want to do was a great opportunity.  I was very interested by what Noah told our class about going through some academic struggles during his first semester at Virginia.  It was all about the little things...once he recognized this and made the needed adjustments, he became a very strong student, and this has helped him in baseball as well.”  

Following class, Murdock shared these thoughts: “I was always a kid growing up who enjoyed what guest speakers had to offer.  Life is about learning from experience, and listening to others share their experiences has always been so beneficial to me.  I’m glad to be at a point in my life at such an early age where my experiences matter to other people.  I’m always eager to share my journey with others.”         

Commenting on Murdock’s defining qualities, Lambert stated, “As great a success story as Noah is on the baseball diamond, I am most impressed by his tremendous character and selfless nature. For a 22-year-old professional athlete, Noah is mature beyond his years.  He certainly shared a powerful message with all in attendance.”