Brash, confrontational and intimidating is just a couple of ways to describe having an interview with the late John Brophy. You never knew what type of mood Brophy was going to be in and it was different each time.
I began my full-time WAVY career in 1989, the same year the Norfolk Admirals began play at Norfolk Scope. It was my duty to cover the Admirals for the next 20 years. In that time I conducted multiple interviews with Brophy.
It seemed no two interviews with Brophy were ever the same. His mood was normally dictated by either the game before or the game about to be played. If his team played poorly, Brophy was never in a mood to talk. But regardless, I had a job to do.
Early on, I was a little intimidated by Brophy. Over the years, it became the interview that I looked forward to the most because I never knew what I was going to get.
My all-time favorite interview with Brophy was one of the last I did with him as head coach of the Admirals. It was in 2000, the last season the Admirals played in the ECHL before the team moved up to the AHL. He knew he was not going to be the coach of the team the following season and Brophy was not happy about it. Brophy took the interview as an opportunity to show off the bad playing conditions at Norfolk Scope. Brophy took me and my photographer Brian Parsons for a tour under Scope to show us a bad ice edger with dull blades. He showed us the bad ice and terrible glass and boards along the ice. He was in rare form that day. Once I was able to actually ask him some questions, Brophy said, “we get treated like dogs!”
I have included that interview here for your pleasure and mind the colorful word near the top of the interview.
Time caught up with John Brophy this week. The legendary hockey coach passed away at the age of 83. But for anyone who worked with Brophy, we are in his own little way much better for it.