DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy alumnus Joe Toomey used his Academy master’s degree to build on his skills as a coach and expand his career to school administration, a move that recently earned him the position of principal at one of Alabama’s most historic high schools.
Toomey is principal of Murphy High School in Mobile, Ala., known for its longtime academic excellence and historic role as the state’s oldest high school.
Toomey earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the Academy in 2002. He previously earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary social science from the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
“The Academy helped me understand the science of sports,” Toomey said.
“The Academy is nationally known and has opened doors for me that would not have been available without my degree.
“I was able to work as a head baseball coach and an assistant football coach while I earned my degree from the Academy,” he said, noting that he worked at Mobile’s Vigor High School while earning has Academy degree online.
A part of the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS), Murphy High School is located on a sprawling 28 acre campus near downtown Mobile and its 14 buildings are home to approximately 2,200 students and 110 faculty and staff members.
In April 1976 Murphy celebrated its golden anniversary as the oldest school in Alabama. Originally named Mobile High School, the name of the school was changed 1927 to Murphy High School in honor of Samuel S. Murphy, who served as superintendent of schools for Mobile County from 1900-1926. In 1982, Murphy High School was named to the United States Department of the Interior National Register of Historic Places.
The school is a charter member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the official accrediting agency for the Southern states. It was recently selected for membership on the College Entrance Examination Board. Murphy is also home to several “signature academies,” which allow students to pursue college and career readiness in areas like business and entrepreneurship, culinary arts, government and public service, health services, liberal arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
Murphy also is involved in higher education partnerships that allow its students to take courses for college credit.
“Murphy High School is the jewel of Mobile,” Toomey said. “I enjoy the diverse makeup of the students. The faculty is extremely positive and helpful.”
Toomey is a graduate of Vigor High School in Mobile, Ala., where he played baseball, football and basketball for the Wolves. He began his career as a teacher and then moved into coaching. He served as the head baseball coach at Vigor for nine years and as assistant football coach for six years. He has also been involved in youth sports in the Mobile area, coaching both youth football and baseball for 10 years.
Toomey is a former principal at Denton Middle School and Clark-Shaw Magnet School. He has also worked as a principal at Mary G. Montgomery High School. All are part of the Mobile County Public School System.
Clark-Shaw Magnet School is a National Blue Ribbon School, a program which recognizes outstanding public and non-public schools. The program identifies several hundred outstanding schools each year, celebrating school excellence, turn around stories and closing of subgroup achievement gaps.
“My greatest professional accomplishment so far is that I was principal of a school that was named a National Blue Ribbon School, which is the highest honor in education,” Toomey said. “My goal is to continue in education and consulting to help other schools.”
Toomey was recently selected to serve as the director of the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals on the Council of Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) Board of Directors. Toomey will serve CLAS, which provides professional development to educational leaders across the state and connects successful leaders so they can share best practices.
The Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.