Jim Murray (American football)
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Jim Murray is the co-founder of the Ronald McDonald House and a former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a native of West Philadelphia and is also president of Jim Murray Ltd, a sports promotion and marketing firm.
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The son of Irish Catholic parents who worked long hours at hard jobs, he grew up in a rowhouse in West Philadelphia and attended Our Mother of Sorrows Parish grade school and West Catholic High School. He graduated from Villanova University in 1960. Jim is the brother of Francis W. Murray, who was so influenced by his sibling's success in professional sports that he embarked on an impossible odyssey to purchase the New England Patriots of the NFL, in the late 1980s, after Jim's tenure as GM with the Eagles had ended due to the financial pressures faced by Leonard Tose, the former owner of the Eagles. His influence was truly based in their childhoods, as both brothers, growing up poor Irish kids in West Philadelphia, sought the sanctuary of sports in a tough neighborhood where a basketball court was an impenetrable fort.
Jim and Fran preferred a ball rather than a book, and athletics became a metaphor for where life was a game and to live your dream was the only way to score. One generation later, Jim would influence his nephew and the youngest son of his brother Fran, an independent award winning filmmaker named T Patrick Murray who produced for ESPN a football documentary that USA Today critic Mike Clark gave "4 out of 4 stars" entitled THE LAST GAME.
He began his career in sports administration with the Tidewater Tides of baseball's South Atlantic League. After a tour of active duty with the Marine Corps Reserve, he returned to baseball as assistant general manager of the Atlanta Crackers, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1964, he left baseball to enter the restaurant business, but returned to Villanova as sports information director in 1966.
In 1969, he joined the Philadelphia Eagles' public relations staff and became the NFL team's administrative assistant two years later. In 1974, five years after joining the organization, Murray was named general manager for the Eagles. For more than nine years, Murray served as general manager and took the franchise from the NFL's cellar to Super Bowl heights. In 1976, he and owner Leonard Tose hired Dick Vermeil as head coach. From 1978 through 1981, the Eagles made the NFL playoffs. After the 1980 season, the Eagles played the Raiders in Super Bowl XV, which was the first Super Bowl appearance in the franchise's history prior to 2005. Murray left the Eagles in 1983.
During his 14 years with the Eagles, Murray assumed leadership roles in a number of community projects. He helped start the successful Eagles Fly for Leukemia campaign. He was the co-founder of the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia along with Dr. Audrey Evans and persuaded many of his peers in the NFL to become involved in the unique Ronald McDonald House concept. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide temporary homes, at little or no cost, for the families of children undergoing treatment for various illnesses at nearby hospitals. Started in Philadelphia in 1974, there are now over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. These activities have endeared Murray to people all around the Philadelphia area.
His numerous honors and awards include the first annual Leonard Tose Award in 2002, Citizen of the Year Award from the American Medical Association in 1999, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Legion in 1992, inducted into the Philadelphia City All-Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, President Ronald Reagan's Medal for Volunteers of America in 1987, the prestigious Bert Bell Man of the Year Award from the Bakers Club of Philadelphia in 1983, 2005 Award for Outstanding Catholic Leadership given by the Catholic Leadership Institute.
Murray and his wife, Dianne, reside in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. They have five children and four grandchildren.
Film and television
Murray can be found being interviewed on numerous NFL Films Productions about the Philadelphia Eagles.