Tim Valentyn, Murphy Desmond
Many don't know I was in the seminary for two years," said Tim Valentyn, president of Murphy Desmond law firm. In his freshman and sophomore years in high school, Valentyn, 57, attended an all-boys boarding school in Oneida, Wis., something that was not uncommon at the time, he explained. "It was very much like Holy Name Seminary. Did I have any clue as to whether I wanted to be a priest? No."
The Kimberly native is the second of six children born to a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked at Kimberly-Clark in Neenah. He idolized his father, who passed away recently. "My dad carpooled to work every day," he said. "He wore a tie every day. He was our hero." Valentyn remembers always wanting to wear a tie like his dad did. "My mom says I used to wear ties in kindergarten."
Valentyn describes his childhood with glowing adjectives – as one filled with sports and fun. One of his first jobs as a teenager was working for a janitorial service. One morning, he was cleaning the Appleton bar owned by the parents of famed NFL player and Appleton native Robert "Rocky" Bleier. "Rocky was back home [that day] and his mom gave me the keys to move his car 50 feet so a garbage truck could get in. That was my [first] rub with fame," he recalled, still sounding slightly awestruck.
Valentyn excelled in high school and college basketball. He was a walk-on his freshman year at UW-Madison, but transferred to UW-Eau Claire his junior year, and was inducted into the school's hall of fame. He graduated from Eau Claire with an education degree, then later earned his law degree in 1982 from UW-Madison.
He'd finally be able to wear that tie.
After two years with a small Madison law firm, Valentyn joined Murphy, Stolper, Brewster, and Desmond in 1984. "I either fooled them or impressed them," he laughed. But in 1997, he left it all behind for the opportunity to run a private corporation. Five years after that, the law firm returned with an offer he simply couldn't refuse, and he's been leading Murphy Desmond ever since. "My primary function is to run the firm strategically, help it grow, expand the client base, and keep us on pace toward business goals," he said.
Meanwhile, he's never ventured far from the sports world: Valentyn has been a sports agent since the 1990s, representing familiar figures such as Bo Ryan, Jim Leonhard, Stan Van Gundy, Chris Maragos, Greg Stiemsma, and Joe Krabbenhoft. "It's a part of what I do," he said. "It's the most visible thing people love to talk about."
Valentyn, however, would much rather talk about his family. Married 33 years to wife Nancy, they've raised three children: Kenzi, their oldest daughter, has significant health problems "but an excellent mind," he said.
Son Brett was a walk-on with the Badger basketball team and saw significant minutes in games last season, his senior year. Youngest son Connor transferred back to UW-Madison from UW-La Crosse and is studying political science. Nancy, though, is the glue Valentyn credits most for keeping the family together. "She's a superstar in her own right," he said admiringly.
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