Former Tigers’ coach Billy Murphy makes ballot for NFF Hall of Fame

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MEMPHIS – Former Memphis football coach Billy J. Murphy is one of six Football Bowl Subdivision coaches on the National Football Foundation’s (NFF) Hall of Fame ballot released Monday. Murphy, who guided Memphis to a program-best 91 wins, had 11 winning seasons at Memphis and retired as the 15th-winningest coach in the nation. Posting a mark of 91-44-1 over a Memphis career that spanned three decades (1958-71), Murphy is a member of both the Memphis and Mississippi State Hall of Fames.

In order to be nominated, a coach must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage. Coach Murphy’s mark of .673 is the highest among the six coaches on the 2019 ballot.

A World War II veteran, Murphy played at Mississippi State, serving as a team captain. He took over the program at Memphis in 1958 and guided the program to an unblemished 1963 season, earning the Detroit News’ National Coach of the Year award. Murphy was also a three-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year from 1968-71 and took Memphis to the 1971 Pasadena Bowl, where the Tigers defeated San Jose State, 28-9.

Following his coaching career, Murphy stayed at Memphis and served as the Athletic Director from 1966-1980. As the AD at Memphis, he headed a pair of construction projects — the Tigers’ Park Avenue Campus facility (which now bears his name) as well as the current Athletic Office Building on the corner of Normal and Southern on the UofM main campus.

Murphy is joined on this year’s ballot by Larry Blakeney (Troy), Jim Carlen (West Virginia, Texas Tech and South Carolina), Pete Cawthorn Sr., (Austin College, Texas Tech), Dennis Erickson (Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Miami, Oregon State, Arizona State) and Darryl Rogers (Cal State East Bay, Fresno State, San Jose State, Michigan State and Arizona State).

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