I am honored to share a short story recently written about my long time friendship, business partnership, and now winning of the prestigious Aggie 100 award together with John Magruder.
“What do we do now?” Those are the first words John Magruder (’04) and Terrence Murphy (’05) remember saying to one another in 2003 as they stood side by side on Kyle Field after a rare home loss. John was a senior Aggie yell leader and Terrence a wide receiver on the football team. Neither was used to losing, neither was happy with losing, and neither was familiar with the protocol for what happened after a game in which the Aggies ran out of time. “What do we do now?” It was the question that started the friendship, and it was the question they would ask again both individually and together.
Magruder graduated in 2005 and stayed in College Station where he went into the insurance business. “I sucked at it. I hated it,” he says. With that going more poorly than he hoped, he quickly began to wonder what he was supposed to do next. Soon after, he and several friends went in together on an investment property which they hoped to flip. They worked nights and weekends together for months to turn the house around and get it on the market. When the dust settled, they had netted $8k. “We thought we hit the jackpot,” he laughs, “even when we had to split that six ways.”
The real payday came with Maguder’s realization that he loved the business of real estate. “It was something I could envision myself doing for a long time,” he says. It just so happened that Magruder’s father in law was a successful home builder in Bryan/College Station. “He gave me a job,” John remembers, “and told me to learn fast because I needed be out on my own in six months.” John was able to stretch six months into a year, but then it was time for him and his college sweetheart turned wife, Tyan, to jump off the diving board together into the sea of big dreams and business ownership.
It was August of 2007, and John distinctly remembers how scary it was to break ground on that first house. “You go all in on this new business –a brand new floor plan, all your time and energy –and you hope you can find just one person who likes it enough to buy it.” One person did, and a new business was almost simultaneously born, crawling, and taking its first step.
Just as Magruder was learning what it felt like to see his dreams come to life, his friend Terrence Murphy was 1200 miles away in Green Bay, Wisconsin grappling with the reality of closing the chapter on his life as a professional football player. After leaving Texas A&M, Murphy was the first pick in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but his promising career was cut short just a month into his rookie season when he suffered a dangerous neck injury during a kickoff return. Suddenly, Murphy was facing life without football for the first time in a very long time.
Terrence moved back to College Station in 2008 and quickly leapt feet first into the real estate business. Soon after, he and Magruder reconnected. Of all the realtors in town, Terrence was the one John chose as his partner and teammate. Likewise, Murphy remembers having many builders wanting to partner with him. “I liked John,” Murphy says. “Liked that he was an Aggie, liked that he was a letterman, liked that he was a family man, liked that he hadn’t lost himself in his success, liked that he was fearless. We had a lot in common. And I liked that. The real estate part was almost secondary to all of that.” “So what do we do now?” the two asked each other. The answer was simple: it’s time to work together to build and sell a bunch of really great houses.
Over the last five years, the two have grown their respective businesses enough to garner many accolades and awards. The most recent being each of their company’s recognition as two of the top 100 fastest growing Aggie businesses in the world. It’s an honor they both take very seriously.
“This is cool,” Murphy says. “I remember watching Green Bay lift the Super Bowl trophy in 2011. That was my team, my teammates, and I wondered what my Super Bowl would be. I decided then and there that it would be real estate. I was going to be great at real estate. Making the Aggie 100 is a part of that. So it’s a huge honor to win this in our first year of being eligible. But it’s also exactly what I set out to do five years ago.”
Magruder shares that excitement: “A friend of mine had the goal of winning the Aggie 100 by the age of 30. I decided I would shoot for the same, and I was able to accomplish that when I won this award for the first time in 2013. But to win it this year with Terrence just feels awesome. Terrence and I have similar levels of drive and success. I had no doubt he was going to get this award as soon as he was eligible. He’s worked as hard at his business as he worked at football.”
So what will they do now? If history is any indicator, they will continue to build and sell a bunch of really great houses. “This award is great,” Murphy says. “I want to stop and celebrate. But I also want to keep that childlike passion and innocence of doing something I love.” Magruder concurs, “The best is yet to come—for both of us. I’m glad we get to do this together.”