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Eugene Vincent Murphy

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Eugene Vincent Murphy

AGE: 72 • Placentia

Football Coach Eugene Vincent Murphy of Placentia, California, died Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles at age 72 due to heart failure. Coach Murphy was born on Aug. 6, 1939, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the only child of Francis Timothy "Bud" Murphy and Mary Emma Flynn Murphy. He graduated from St. Peter's High School in New Brunswick, NJ, where he was an all-state quarterback and shortstop. He began his college career at the University of Minnesota but transferred to the University of North Dakota, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1962 after being selected the All-North Central Conference quarterback. He would later earn two masters degrees in 1963 and 1977. He began a 17-year coaching career at UND as a graduate assistant. He left after one year to coach at North St. Paul High School before returning to UND, where he was an assistant for 14 years and head coach for two seasons. He compiled a 15-7 record and won the conference title and coach of the year honors with a 10-2 team in 1979. He also spent five summers as a "guest coach" in the Canadian Football League. Everyone was part of Coach Murphy's "family." He was a father figure to many - a "Father Flanagan with a coach's whistle" as Chris Foster wrote in the Los Angeles Times. Many coaches don't know the names of all of their players. Coach Murphy knew the names of all of his players' children. And of his assistants. And his boosters. And his many friends outside of football. He will be missed by unknown numbers of people. Athletics Director Mike Mullally hired Coach Murphy to take over the young Div. I football program in 1980 at Cal State Fullerton, which had yet to enjoy a winning season. Coach Murphy and his staff literally built a competitive program from the grandstands up. The Titans won Pacific Coast Athletic Association championships in 1983 and 1984 and played in the 1983 California Bowl in Fresno. Murphy was voted PCAA coach of the year in 1983 and UPI West Coast Coach of the Year in 1984, when the Titans broke into the national rankings with an 11-1 (12-0 with forfeit) season. They finished in second place in four of the next five seasons before state budget cuts weakened and finally, after the 1992 season, terminated the program. Coach Murphy had a 13-year record of 59-89-1 with a home mark of 31-19. Coach Murphy took over the football program at Fullerton College for the 1993 season and coached for 15 more seasons. His 73-72-2 record ranks him second on the Hornets' coaching list. His best season was 2003 when the Hornets went 10-3, won a Mission Conference championship and earned a trip to the Southern California finals. The team was ranked No. 14 in the nation and Murphy was conference and regional coach of the year. Coach Murphy was inducted into the Titan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He was inducted into the UND Hall of Fame in 1999 and the St. Peter's HS Hall of Fame. He was particularly devoted to the Kathleen E. Faley Memorial Games for the developmentally disabled and that organization named him its Man of the Year in 1999.

He leaves behind a "coaching tree" of remarkable reach with former assistants working across the nation at every level including head coaches in the National Football League and the NCAA Div. I. Coach Murphy is survived by his best friend Christine McCarthy; his children Tim, wife C.J. and their kids Mason and Emma; Mike, wife Lou-Ellen and their kids Sean and Caitlin; Maureen, husband Jon and their kids Matthew and Sophia and Aileen Murphy.

Rosary will be said on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at McAulay and Wallace Mortuary, 902 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92832. A funeral mass will be held Monday, Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. at St. Juliana Catholic Church, 1320 N. Acacia Ave., Fullerton, CA 92831. A reception will follow from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cal State Fullerton Student Union's Portola Pavilion. The family is requesting that those attending wear something green to honor Coach Murphy's memory. Memorial donations should be made to either the Aileen Murphy Educational Trust in care of Christine McCarthy, 2500 E Imperial Hwy., Suite 201, #139, Brea, CA 92821. Or The Eugene "Gene" Murphy Football Endowment within the UND Foundation, 3100 University Avenue, Stop 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202-8157. Toll-free 800-543-8764.

Published in Home News Tribune on Nov. 5, 2011
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