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The City Journals

Murray High’s athletes of the past, where are they now?

Apr 29, 2020 11:29AM ● By Ryanne Riet

Britton Johnsen and Murray High's 1997 varsity basketball team yearbook photo. (Photo courtesy Alexis Hennekes Coplin)

By Ryanne Riet | [email protected]

The Murray High athletics program has a reputation for sending its athletes into their futures well prepared and ready for success.

As the years go by, and Murray High sends scores of their athletes out into the real world, it raises the question, “Where are they now?”

The success stories of three—Brandon Kee, Nicole Brambila-Kizer and Britton Johnsen—would surely make their former Murray High coaches proud.

Brandon Kee, a former Murray High hockey player, graduated in 2011.

He has found himself on a successful career path as a designer, patternmaker, marketing expert, and accountant for his own clothing label.

“I launched my label straight out of college in 2016,” Kee said.

Brandon was also featured on Bravo’s “Project Runway” in 2017, where he went on to place third in the competition.

The most beneficial factor to his career that came from playing for Murray High’s hockey program is understanding how to work together as part of a team.

“It taught me work ethic like I haven’t experienced before,” Kee said.

One of the most memorable accomplishments that Kee recalls is the response that his team had to an accident that took the life of their assistant coach, Dave Brown.

“I can recall as a team, coming together like a family after losing our assistant coach,” Kee said. “From that point on we truly knew this was much bigger than just some boys slapping a puck around on the ice, we felt meaning and purpose like never before.”

Nicole Brambila-Kizer graduated from Murray High in 2016.

During her time at Murray High she played basketball, volleyball and softball.

Brambila-Kizer is now an Aviation Ordnanceman third class petty officer in the United States Navy.

“I think playing softball for Murray helped teach me responsibility, teamwork and that hard work eventually pays off,” Brambila-Kizer said.

Today, she works on and around F-18 fighter jets, loading and installing ammunition for combat missions and training.

Throughout her career, Brambila-Kizer has visited five countries and has completed a seven-month combat deployment.

“I think the most beneficial thing that came from playing high school sports was the confidence and work ethic that it instilled in me,” Brambila-Kizer said. “It taught me how to be independent and work hard for the things I want.”

Britton Johnsen played for Murray High’s basketball program and graduated in 1997.

He went from Murray’s high school basketball program to the University of Utah, and then on to the NBA where he played for the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers.

Johnsen credits his coaches at Murray High for some of his career success, specifically mentioning coach Gordon Kener, coach Randy Bodily and coach Tom Stokes.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better head coach than Gordon Kener,” Johnsen said. “He was awesome at knowing what I was good at and putting me in the best positions on the floor to be successful. Coach Stokes was our strength and defensive coach, he was incredible off the floor at getting my body as strong as it could be.”

“Randy Bodily was great at the psychology of basketball and teaching us how to use what we had,” Johnsen said. “He always made me feel like the most confident player.”

Today Johnsen works for General Motors as their business development manager. He is on ESPN700 sports radio and has also done radio for the Utah Jazz for the past seven years.

Murray High’s athletic programs have proven that what is taught to its athletes, will not only benefit their high school sports careers, but their future careers as well, with an emphasis on teamwork, hard work and ethics.