Daniel Murray trained his body and mind to earn a degree at Tri-C
Determination. Toughness. A refusal to quit.
Daniel Murray used those traits to mold himself into a kickboxing champion in his native Ireland. He leaned on the same attributes to earn an Associate of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Studies at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
“Success starts from within,” Murray said. “I vowed to outwork everyone to make myself a kickboxing champion. That’s the same mentality I brought to my studies.”
That attitude took time to forge, though.
Murray began his adult life running an appliance repair business in Ireland. Customer calls kept him busy fixing washers, dryers and anything else that broke. The on-the-go lifestyle left him little time to exercise or eat right.
One day, he looked in the mirror and saw a man 80 pounds heavier than he remembered.
“I said, ‘That’s not me,’” Murray said. “So I got on it to make a change.”
He discovered kickboxing and pounded his body into shape at the gym. In 2015, he won a title from the World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes during the World Martial Arts Games XV in Cardiff, Wales.
The transformation from a hefty repairman to chiseled champion convinced Murray to seek a career as a trainer.
Murray enrolled in Tri-C’s Sport and Exercise Studies (SES) program in 2016 soon after moving to Cleveland with his wife, who grew up in the area. The two met while she was in Ireland on a college study-abroad program.
He attacked his studies with the same ferocity he brought to the ring, compiling a flawless 4.0 GPA at the College. His grades earned him an invitation to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter at Eastern Campus.
This past semester, SES Program Manager Chris Faciana arranged for Murray to intern at SPIRE Institute — an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training center located in Ashtabula County.
“It’s all about building people up,” said Murray, 29, of Shaker Heights. “I love to see people’s progress. Some people want to jump higher, get stronger or run faster. I like being able to help them do that.”
Murray plans to start his own personal training business and possibly open a gym. Additional education may be in his future, too, as he may pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports science from a four-year institution.
None of that would have been possible without Tri-C, said Murray, who is the first in his family to earn a college degree.
“Tri-C had everything I needed,” Murray said. “It’s a place I’ll recommend for the rest of my life.”
Cuyahoga Community College will celebrate the academic achievements of more than 3,000 graduates on May 17 at Spring Commencement. Check our News and Events page throughout the month as we highlight members of the Class of 2018.
May 06, 2018
John Horton, 216-987-4281 firstname.lastname@example.org