2023, News

2023 Donna LJ Murphy Award Winner

The Ninth Annual Donna L.J. Murphy Award will be presented to Haven Ford of Rowan County during the 2023 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony presented by the Madden Foundation on March 19th at the Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott Resort.

Nominations were submitted from across the state for this prestigious award which honors a standout female senior basketball player who exemplifies the meaning of being a great student athlete.  “Each year I am reminded of the great talent that Kentucky has in our girls’ basketball programs!  So many of the ladies who were nominated have had some great accomplishments in their high school basketball career and this decision is always very difficult.” said Donna Murphy.

Haven Ford, a senior at Rowan County, has played varsity basketball for six years, is a part of the 3,000+ point club at Rowan County and holds an impressive 4.0 GPA. Haven is a three-sport athlete, having played basketball, soccer and softball during her career with the Vikings.  Haven has received several awards/recognitions during her basketball career and holds the following records at Rowan County High School:

  • All-time leading scorer
  • All-Time steals leader
  • All-time assist leader

Haven has committed to play for Murray State University in the 2023-2024 basketball season.

When asked what basketball has taught her over the years and how she would apply it to her life in the future, Haven’s response was: “I have learned the importance of not settling when faced with adversity, the importance of being humble, and the value of teamwork. Always being humble has been important to me because it results in respect. To me, I feel that the way you handle being a good athlete speaks louder than your athletic ability. Basketball is a true team sport, and it takes everyone to do their role in order to be successful.”

Donna L.J. Murphy played basketball at Newport High School from 1972-76 and went on to become an All-American.  During her senior year she was named Kentucky’s first Miss Basketball in 1976, averaging 35 points and 20 rebounds.  She was awarded the Ted Sanford Award for being named the MVP of the 1975 Kentucky state tournament after she scored 67 points and grabbed 50 rebounds in two games.

More than a great high school basketball player, Murphy was also the State AA high jump champion in 1974 and named All-region in volleyball before graduating fifth in her class. As a highly recruited student-athlete, she chose to attend Morehead State University and graduated magna cum laude twice, with a BA in Communications/ Journalism with Teacher Certification, and a MHE in Counseling.

Murphy remains a highly decorated high school and college student-athlete and a member of eleven Hall of Fames, including the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame. Murphy was also the first female student-athlete to have her jersey retired at Morehead State University and Newport High School. She was the first forward drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1980 and went on to play for the St. Louis Streak.  After her playing career she transitioned to coaching. She has held coaching positions at the collegiate level and also coached Pro-Am, high school, middle school, AAU and Exposure basketball. Murphy is now retired after many years working as a Professor and Counselor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, overseeing the Diversity Outreach Services and Intramural Sports.  In her free time, she is a basketball skills trainer.

All sports fans are welcome to attend or view the 2023 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony. To learn more about the event visit http://www.mrandmisskybasketball.com.  For questions, please email JenniferHunt@kylionseye.org or call 270-999-4887.

The 12th annual Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Award Ceremony presented by The Madden Foundation serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, who has announced Mr. Kentucky Basketball since 1954 and Miss Kentucky Basketball since 1976.  To learn more about KLEF’s mission and our programs and services please visit www.kylionseye.org.