Robert M. Murphy

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Robert M. Murphy
Robert M. Murphy.jpg
Robert M. Murphy
Died July 5, 1925(1925-07-05)
Residence Washington, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Washington & Jefferson College
Years active 1906-1925
Known for Student solicitor and graduate manager for W&J College

Robert Martin "Mother" Murphy was an administrator at Washington & Jefferson College; his efforts to improve the Washington & Jefferson Presidents football team directly led to its development as a national powerhouse during the early 20th century.[1]

Career at Washington & Jefferson College[edit]

Murphy graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 1906.[2] From 1906 to 1925, he served as the college's student solicitor and graduate manager for the football team.[3] In that position, he personally recruited many of the players that eventually comprised the most successful teams in the College's history.[3] The modern analogue of his position would be the athletic director.[1]

College president James D. Moffat personally credited Murphy for increasing the enrollment by 9%.[3]

In 1910, the football program was in danger of being dissolved due to crushing debt.[4] The Student Athletic Committee proposed a $1 per term student fee to fund the team, a proposal that was met with initial resistance from the student body.[4] However, team manager and beloved student solicitor Murphy was able to convince the students to accept the fee.[4]

In 1912, he personally recruited Bob Folwell away from Lafayette College to serve as head coach for the football team, a move that ushered in the era of dominance for the football squad.[5] That era of dominance peaked in the 1921 season, when the Presidents were invited to play in the 1922 Rose Bowl. The team could only afford to send 11 men on the cross-country trip and Murphy had to mortgage his home to pay his own way.[6]

He died on July 25, 1925.[7]

Posthumous honors[edit]

On Mother's Day in 1936, the college honored Murphy by dedicating a day of service to Murphy's memory.[8]

The college's athletic program presents the annual "Robert M. Murphy Award" to graduates who have made "outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to athletics at W&J after graduation."[9] The award has been presented at the annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.[9]

The Rule, Hughes, and Murphy Prize, named for Murphy and two other alumni (James Rule (1898), Howard Hughes ’11) honors sophomore students who display high levels of "academic achievement, academic promise, and leadership potential."[10] The award carries a $2,000 cash prize.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b North, E. Lee (May 8, 2010). "More about Washington and Jefferson College" (PDF). The College Football Historian. Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  2. ^ "W&J Holds Athletic Hall of Fame Inductions" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Spring 2006. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b c Scarborough, David Knowles (1979). "Intercollegiate Athletics at Washington and Jefferson College: the Building of a Tradition". Ph.D Dissertation. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh: 43–44. 
  4. ^ a b c Scarborough, David Knowles (1979). "Intercollegiate Athletics at Washington and Jefferson College: the Building of a Tradition". Ph.D Dissertation. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh: 47–48. 
  5. ^ North, E. Lee (1991). Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 62–74. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. 
  6. ^ North, E. Lee (1991). Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 97–107. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. 
  7. ^ "ROBERT M. MURPHY DIES.; Graduate Manager of Athletics at W. and J. Passes Away.". The New York Times. July 5, 1925. 
  8. ^ "College Honors a Man At Mother's Day Service". The New York Times. May 11, 1936. 
  9. ^ a b "W&J Athletic Hall of Fame". Washington & Jefferson College. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  10. ^ a b "W&J Awards Rule, Hughes, Murphy Prize" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Winter 2005. Retrieved 2010-07-15.