The John Brophy Award

When Kevin O’Shea was leading his team to the city championship, he was doing it, in part, for classmate John Brophy ’43, who died that February. As a freshman, Brophy developed a serious illness, and doctors had to amputate his leg. He regained his health and took part in the Sodality, Sanctuary Society, debate team and CSF. He also served as a student body officer, a writer for The Red and Blueand manager of the swim team, earning membership into the Block Club.

Brophy suffered a relapse in November of his senior year, and the basketball team dedicated its season to him. He died on February 10, 1943. At the end of the year, the Block Club, spurred on by its president, Don Gordon ’43, created the John E. Brophy Award to honor this exemplar of Ignatian values. Harvey Christensen ’43 was the first recipient, chosen because he modeled Brophy’s “loyalty, integrity and unselfish dedication.” Christensen made a name for himself as “the greatest natural athlete in the circuit, and without a peer in his position,” according to one Chronicle reporter. “He looks like an edition of Paul Waner. Bats .536. Can play any position in the field. A heady fielder. A born leader.” Christensen also made a name for himself as a star basketball player and swimmer, and earned All-City honors in all three sports. After high school he played for the St. Louis Brown’s minor league team from 1949–51 before serving as a baseball coach at USF and Lincoln, where he eventually became principal. The San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame inducted him in 1993.