Dr. Henry A Murray’s background in biological science, clinical practice and academic psychology provided him with the unique insight into personality theory. It is true that psychoanalysis, Freud, Jung, Lewin and others deeply influenced him. His theory of personality was labeled Personology. The Importance of biological factors, individual complexity within the environmental context are cornerstones of his theoretical thinking. Within his research, Murray identified 20 human needs. Even though Murray’s idea of a “need” was a hypothetical construct, he believed it was linked to the underlying physiological processes within the human brain. Two of his need constructs are to be employed in understanding the psychological dynamics between first year head Coach Bo Schembechler and with his 1969 University of Michigan football team. These ideas provide more understanding and insight in what it takes to bring diverse individuals together in order to function as one dynamism.
The first of Murrays “need” which we will refer to is “n Achievement.” Murray’s brief definition follows: To accomplish something difficult. To master, manipulate, organize physical objects, human beings, or ideas. To do this as rapidly and as independently as possible. To overcome obstacles and attain a high standard. To excel oneself. To rival and surpass others. To increase self-regard by the successful exercise of talent.
Mike Keller provides us with an illustration. Mike was originally recruited by Bump Elliott and was one of Schembechler’s talented sophomores in 1969. Keller, highly competitive begin achieving prior to school age. At the age of four, he was racing his highly competitive achieving mother in foot races. He excelled in football at an early age, and played during halftime with his Peewee football team at Tiger Stadium in front of a Detroit Lions crowd. By the time he reached junior high, Mike was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 160 pounds as an eighth grader. His football coach at the time allowed him only to practice [He was disallowed from playing competitive football because of the size] during football season. He claimed he made most of the tackles, but made sure he did not attempt to hurt anybody.
Mike played and excelled in a number of team sports at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. By graduation time, he had may be 30 or so universities recruiting him to play big-time college football. He chose the University of Michigan. This exceptionally talented athlete was fast and competitive. As a freshman, he made sure to give his best effort all the time. And as a sophomore, he attained first string status. His achievement did not diminish during those three years under coach Schembechler. Bo, as the coach installed a rating system [Might’ve been intercepting a pass] for each game. Mike received Victors Club Honors for his high grades in 38 out of 40 games played. On top of that, Mike was permitted to wear a special Jersey during that week of practice, illustrating his game played achievement. At the end of the season, the player who had the most Victor Club jerseys received a trophy at the end of the season. Mike Keller earned 3, one for each year played.
Because of his terrific achievements, accomplishments, high standards, excelling, high self-regard and exercising talent, Mike Keller, All-American, was selected to play in the college All-Star game against the world champion Dallas Cowboys. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the 64th player taken in the NFL draft. Mike Keller illustrated Henry A. Murray’s existence of a need for achievement. It was the result of his particular mode of behavior, his satisfaction, his emotions while playing sports, and especially excelling in the so-called game of football.
The n Abasement, another of Dr. Murray’s needs to follow regarding Mike Keller.