'Franny' Murray, First Director of DRIA
Penn's first director of athletics, Francis T. Murray, died on June 28 at the age of 82 at his home in Boca Raton, Florida, as a result of complications from a stroke he suffered four years ago. Just six weeks before his death he had been inducted into the Penn Athletic Hall of Fame.
The 1937 alumnus known as "Franny" Murray was an all-American in both football and basketball--remembered not only as captain of the basketball team in his junior and senior years, but also as the 1934-36 quarterback and outstanding kicker in a celebrated "Destiny Backfield" that included the Lew Elverson, Ed Warwick and Bill Kurlish. He was the last surviving member of that quartet.
After graduation from Penn Mr. Murray coached football at Penn Charter Academy for a year, then played halfback and did some coaching for Philadelphia Eagles in their 1939 and 1940 seasons. Meanwhile, he also was building a career as a writer and in broadcasting, with a nightly sports show on WIBG Radio that ran for 11 years. He headed the Philadelphia Inquirer Charities during the six years from 1944 until 1950, when he returned to Penn to take the newly-created post of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. He was also chosen as Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Philadelphia Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1950.
A year later he was named by the U.S. Attorney General to chair of an advisory committee to recommend constructive legislation for the purpose of combatting crime in sports, and received that year's City of Hope Award as the outstanding figure behind the American sports scene.
Mr. Murray left Penn in 1953 when the University rejoined the Ivy League, and went on to create still another successful career, in public relations with such firms as Crown Cork & Seal and Scott Paper Co.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Spatola Murray; daughters Sharon
Fogarty and Susan Moore; and three granddaughters.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 1, July 14, 1998