Behind the Scenes: Football

Holy Family Football Starts New Chapter

If you want to know the direction Holy Family Catholic High School’s football program is heading under new head Coach Tim Triplett, you don’t need a crystal ball. You need to look in the rearview mirror and talk to people the Fire coach has inspired.

Players like Nick Olson, one of Triplett’s early recruits out of Minnesota to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where Triplett was a positions coach from 2010 to 2014.

“…He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

“When he came through and we talked, it wasn’t about covering the bullet points like a lot of other coaches,” Olson recalls. “He was asking what was I looking for and who was I as a person rather than trying to sell me to USD. He wanted to see if I was a fit there. He’s a genuine person and tries to get to know you.”

And, once he knows you, Olson says, he makes sure his passion for football and living life right rubs off on everyone he comes in contact with. Olson, now a tight ends coach at the University of St. Thomas, recalls it took just one small, seemingly insignificant moment to jump-start his deep passion for college football.

“One of my first practices at USD, I made a play—a pretty good play,” Olson recalls. “He (Triplett) yelled out in front of everyone, ‘Would you look at that—Nick Olson, the pride of Richfield, Minnesota High School!’

“That was a big moment for a true college freshman 5 hours away from home in a fairly large Division I football program,” Olson says. “I didn’t expect or even know he was watching.”

The lasting impact Triplett has on players like Olson has become his legacy wherever he has coached. He’s invested in people and does everything he can to make little moments life changing. Now, he’ll share those shining moments with Holy Family Catholic High School student athletes.

“Tim is one of those guys who coaches football for the right reasons,” says Jim Kilian, head coach of St. Olaf football in Northfield, who was the offensive coordinator at the University of St. Thomas while Triplett coached various specialized positions from 2015 to 2018.

“Tim doesn’t do it for the notoriety or name recognition, but for the opportunity to give back and give others the same opportunities he had through football. He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

HF Football Starts Off the Field

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

Coach Triplett, relaxed in a random chair scattered among many empty ones in the Holy Family team meeting room on a quiet July morning, shared his vision on Holy Family football—where it’s been and where he sees it going. The conversation surprisingly begins far removed from X’s and O’s.

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

“We should be honored to be a part of it and will continue to grow it and enhance what we can so we positively influence those around us. We’re going to be measured by how we add value to other people’s lives by being a football player here.”

What does that mean? According to Triplett, Holy Family players:

  • Hold doors for others
  • Look people in the eye when they shake hands
  • Hustle across the street when there’s a walk signal
  • And always play hard, play together and play fast

Simple things like these send a message not only about his program, but also about the entire school.

“That, by extension, is the Holy Family way,” Coach Triplett says. “That’s what drew me here. We’re all on the same page.”

So far, the players have heard his message loud and clear, says senior Dominic Philliips.

“He’s super energetic and always available if you have any questions,” Phillips says. “And, he emphasizes the importance of a Catholic education and how important it is for us to give Holy Family a good rep.”

Coach Triplett, who likes to randomly toss in movie references to make a point, shared this thought: “I think they form a symbiotic circle, it is all encompassing of one,” he chuckles, noting his clever Star Wars reference. “Once we get culture right, a lot of things start going your way.”

Field Report: High Energy, Heavy D

Triplett introduced “Trip Football” to the team on the Holy Family practice field last June. It was the first organized team activity (OTA), one of 11 team activities coaches can conduct before the mandated two-week “blackout” (no contact with team).

“It’s definitely high tempo. There’s no lollygagging,” says senior Ryan Bowlin. “Coach emphasizes if you do the little things right and go at 110% percent, you’ll get into a good tempo that will show in the games.” (Find a schedule of games HERE.)

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

That type of high-spirited practice is by design. “The transition from a practice to a game is going to be seamless,” Triplett says. “Our practices are going to be chaotic, stuff going on all the time just like a game.”

While it may feel frenzied to the players, Triplett’s plan is well thought out. “He’s very intentional with everything he does, even if it is a little different,” Olson says. “There is always a rhyme and a reason to what he does. That is what is unique compared to other coaches.”

Triplett did share his concrete plan to getting his Holy Family football program off on the right foot, and it starts with these early priorities:

  1. Organizing practice and meetings. “We’re setting expectations of what we’re doing on a daily basis and finding that groove that the kids will respond to.”
  2. Getting to know each other. “This is a completely different team than last year, with new players, coaches in new positions and a different style. It will force us to focus on the process, not the outcome.”
  3. Defining personnel. “We’re going to move dudes around. Where they think they’re playing now may not be indicative of where they’re playing in August.”
  4. Setting realistic goals. “Our goals should be to get better every day and improve. They will come in the form of what we do on a daily basis.”

Players have also seen an increased focus on conditioning, the need to understand a more complex college-style playbook (including five-receiver sets) and the expectation of knowing what all positions on the field are doing during any given play.

“There definitely is more focus on the playbook, which is because we have a new coach and he really knows his stuff and wants us to be just as knowledgeable,” senior Sam Riegert says.

All those high expectations deliberately deliver against what Coach Triplett wants people to notice when Holy Family takes the field for its first game on August 30.

“When you watch a ‘Trip Team,’ you’re going to face speed, physicality and lots of running, in no particular order,” Triplett says. “And, I’d have to say it starts with D. We have to be a team that will play fast, physical and together. Offensively, we’ll find a way to move the ball. We have the athletes here to do that.”

Setting the Tone for the Future

While Triplett is careful not to promise lofty goals for his first season (“If you set a goal, be careful how you word it,” he says), the players themselves have high expectations.

“We were 10-0 our freshman year and are a class that is close and loves football,” Phillips says. “Coach gives us achievable expectations and wants to help us achieve our goals.”

“Everyone has a mindset that they want to make it to state,” Riegert adds. “We have a talented senior class and plan to improve step by step, game by game.”

Coach Triplett, on the other hand, has a more simple approach to what he wants the players to experience this season.

“We work too hard not to have a lot of fun.”

“I’m looking for enthusiasm. We work too hard not to have a lot of fun. I tell my players, ‘Don’t forget to have fun. There will be longer days and frustrating plays, but always find the pieces where you have fun.’ ”

That approach is likely where Triplett will make the greatest impression his first season at Holy Family. His passion and energy will be noticeable at practice, on the sidelines and in the huddle. He’s looking to the seniors to grasp that energy and share it with players coming up. If they do, it will pay off for years to come.

“The numbers are certainly important,” Triplett says. “We’re going to need to grow numbers in certain positions. Hopefully, we start to grow our own numbers by examples we set, games we win and how we carry ourselves on and off the field.”

Olson was a part of that same vision 8 years ago at USD. He credits Coach Triplett for setting him up for football success that has lasted to this day.

“He shows you what being passionate about life and everything about it is about,” Olson shares. “He’s always the guy who is happy and excited about every day. It can rub off on you.”

Coach Triplett’s 12 Nuggets of Wisdom

60-Plus Holy Family Extracurricular Activities

We’ve all been there. We invest in all kinds of activities for our kids to pursue. It’s part of the growing process: developing the whole person, not just academically, but physically, socially and emotionally.

Then, as high school nears, that little voice sounds the alarm in the back of a parent’s head. Is my daughter or son good enough to make the team? Can they continue with music? Get a part in the play? Compete with other students? Is high school the end of the line?

“It’s interesting comparing Holy Family to other large schools in the area,” says Activities Director Nick Tibesar. “We have kids staying with programs longer than what I saw in public schools. So often, in other schools, kids come in playing ball with friends during their summers and evenings, sometimes for years, and all of a sudden they end up as a high school freshman and sophomore not on a team anymore.”

Not at Holy Family Catholic High School. Here, students get an opportunity to participate in the sports and many other activities they are most passionate about. Plus, they often discover a wide variety of other sports, academic teams, clubs and activities they never considered.

“We encourage kids to try new things and stretch limits,” Nick says. “We want them to be involved in multiple things to fight some of the outside pressure to specialize in just one of them.”

Smaller School Size, Big Opportunities

With a student body of 400 kids, Holy Family provides unlimited opportunities to explore new things. Students often participate in more than one activity, not just during the school year, but also during a single season.

“When looking at sports, there are students who were on the trap and lacrosse teams, or tennis, track and baseball,” Nick says. “But more common is a kid who participates in both a sport and one of our academic competitions.

“We had a player on our basketball team who also was on our varsity Math League team. As a coach, I recall a half dozen times he had to go to Math League. No one acted like that was strange or gave him a hard time. We said, ‘How did Math League go? And cool you’re doing so well.’

“It’s fun to be in a culture where someone is not ostracized for picking academics over athletics.”

Endless Opportunities

With over 60 extracurriculars to choose from, your Holy Family student is destined to pursue his or her talents, while trying new activities outside of the classroom.

“There are a lot of people who chose Holy Family for the right reasons—faith-based environment, college prep, joining a community where their student is known and cared for,” Nick adds. “All of those things extend to our classroom, lunchroom and after-school activities.

“We consider extracurricular activities the last class of the day. And, they provide the same values as everything else at Holy Family.”

QUICK FACTS:

92% of Holy Family students participate in extracurricular activities

90% of Holy Family students participate in multiple extracurricular activities in a school year

60+ Holy Family extracurricular activities are offered each school year

(more…)

New Girls Soccer Coach Hired

Holy Family hires Michael Murray from Dallas’ Bishop Dunne Catholic School to lead Fire Girls Soccer 

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, MN, is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Murray as the school’s new head girls soccer coach.

Michael Murray begins his work with the Holy Family soccer program immediately with a team and parent meeting on August 2nd.

Coach Murray arrives at Holy Family with a wealth of experiences at Catholic schools across the country.  A product of Conwell Eagan High School, in suburban Philadelphia, Murray excelled in soccer and in the classroom – earning admission to the University of Notre Dame where he earned Academic All-American honors, with a double-major in Physics and Mathematics.  Murray went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame’s prestigious Alliance for Catholic Education program.

Since 2014, Murray has been teaching at Bishop Dunne Catholic School in the Diocese of Dallas, Texas.  During his time in Dallas he served as a varsity assistant and junior varsity soccer coach, and a mentor to high school student athletes from all walks of life.

In addition to his soccer duties, Coach Murray will also be joining Holy Family Catholic High School as a math instructor.

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is thrilled to snag such a strong and enthusiastic leader to lead the Fire Girls Soccer program.  “We were wowed by Coach Murray’s positivity, intellect, commitment to Catholic education, and passion for the game.  He is a caring and hardworking teacher and coach, with an immense capacity for leadership, and a heart for service. Our ability to have him in the building as a full-time educator and a resource for our players and program is invaluable. Holy Family is blessed to welcome Michael Murray into our community to lead the Fire Girls Soccer program into the future!”

Murray officially begins his work at Holy Family on August 2 with a meeting for players and parents at 7pm in the Holy Family Cafeteria, and with the start of practice on August 13 at 3pm.

Additional information about Michael Murray:

Education:

University of Notre Dame- South Bend, IN – BS in Physics, Mathematics

University of Notre Dame- South Bend, IN – M.Ed. Master of Education

Contact Information:

Nick Tibesar, HFCHS Activities Director – tibesarn@hfchs.org

Michael Murray, HFCHS Head Girls Soccer Coach – murraym@hfchs.org