GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A decal with the word ‘Murph’ on it will adorn the helmets of Fighting Sioux football players on Saturday as North Dakota takes on Sioux Falls at the Alerus Center. The decal is being worn in honor of former Fighting Sioux quarterback and head coach Gene Murphy, who passed away last weekend in southern California. Murphy was 72 years old (1939-2011).
“Coach Murphy was one of a kind,” current head coach Chris Mussman said. “He is a person that if you met him once – you were his friend for life. I enjoyed our conversations over the years. He always brought a smile to my face even when we were feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Murphy was a three-year letterwinner from 1960-62 for the Fighting Sioux, including serving his senior season as team captain. He quickly moved into an assistant coaching role at UND in 1963 and remained in that position until 1977 when he took over as head coach for Jerry Olson.
“Murph was something special,” UND Athletics director Brian Faison said. “He loved UND and Fighting Sioux Football.”
His head coaching career at UND only lasted two seasons before he embarked on a 13-year head coaching career at Cal-State Fullerton. He won 15 games in those two seasons at the helm of the Fighting Sioux and 59 during his tenure with the Titans.
After the football program was dropped at Cal-State Fullerton, Murphy went onto to coach at Fullerton College before serving as a consultant for the team until his passing.
In 1999, Murphy was inducted into both the UND Athletics Hall of Fame and the Cal-State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kickoff between the Fighting Sioux and Cougars is at 1 p.m. There will be a brief moment of silence before the National Anthem and a special video tribute to Murphy at halftime of the contest.
– Go Sioux –