Murgo earns NCAC honors as freshman

Shea Beaumont, Contributing Writer

Nick Murgo, ’18, a middle linebacker on the Allegheny football team was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Murgo became the first player in Allegheny program history to earn the conference’s Newcomer of the Year award.

The NCAC was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to fostering a complementary relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence.

Despite the lack of success that the football team showed this past season when they were only able to earn one win, Murgo emerged onto the scene as a rookie, starting all 10 games at middle linebacker and leading the Gators with 107 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss.

“It’s quite an honor, especially with the football tradition we have here at Allegheny. It’s really an accomplishment just to become a part of the school’s athletic history,” said Murgo.

In return, his teammates and coaches acknowledged his attributes on the field.

“He’s a man amongst boys. He sets an example for everyone as soon as he steps on the field. He proves that hard work can pay off and that incoming freshman can have an impact on the teamimmediately,” said Jake Wilson, ’18, teammate and Murgo’s close friend.

Allegheny’s head football coach, Mark Matlak, also shared a few words about his future star.

“It’s really exciting to coach someone who can make some plays,” said Mark Matlak. “It’s fun watching him play out there. Having someone who can make 100 plus tackles is really awesome. He’s a role model for the rest of his teammates so the ceiling for him is extremely high.”

Murgo attributes some of his success to being around the sport of football his whole life and seeing the sport itself as a family game.

“Having my dad as a football coach really showed me how to play the game the right way. He helped me acquire my love for football,” Murgo said. “Growing up I always wanted to be a football player because I was always watching my dad coach. Even though he never forced me into the sport, I just wanted to play because I saw how much he loved it.”

Murgo credits some of his love for the game to his teammates and coaches as well as being able to be on the field every day.

“I just love the intensity of the game, you know. When I’m out on the field I get to forget about everything else going on in my life other than football,” Murgo said. “For me, there’s no other game out there that gives me the same feeling as football does. As far as Allegheny goes, the brotherhood of teammates is awesome. The coaches also serve as great role models to look up to. Coach Matlak has been a great role model for me. He has been a mentor on and off the field and has taught me so many lessons that are not just about the game of football, but my whole life in general.”

Although Murgo showed a lot of success on the field for the Gators, he faced some new obstacles that stood in his way.

“It was hard to compete at the college level at first. The speed of the game definitely increased from the high school level. The size of the players also changed a lot. They are certainly a lot bigger and more athletic and physical than I’ve ever seen,” said Murgo.

Murgo hopes that the football team continues to strive and finish better than this past season.

“I want to lead the team to a winning season and eventually a playoff berth. It won’t be easy to accomplish but I hope with my class, along with the classes ahead of me and behind me, we will continue to work hard and help contribute to having a better season than in the past two years,” said Murgo.

Matlak also has some high expectations for Murgo’s upcoming sophomore campaign and his whole career.

“There is a stepping process for Nick to continue his success. I think the next step is for him to completely learn the defense. This past season he was a rookie who basically played off of instincts. He has God-given talent so the future is bright. I would first like to see him become an All-Conference player and then eventually an All-American. He definitely has that capability especially with how hard he plays and the effort he shows,” said Matlak.

After college, Murgo said that he hopes to pursue a career that involves economics but for now he wants to enjoy everything that Allegheny has to offer while continuing his football career.