VOL. III, NO. II
Gentleman Bill Murray
By Jim Sumner
Virtually any knowledgeable student of college football knows that Duke's
greatest football coach was Wallace Wade, who led the Blue Devils from
1931 through 1941 and 1946 through 1950. Wade's fame is understandable. A
larger than life figure during the Golden Age of Coaches, Wade was largely
responsible for putting Duke football on the map.
Hall of Famer in the Duke coaching pantheon.
Yet Wade is not the only
He was succeeded at Duke by
Bill Murray, a soft-spoken Duke alumnus, whose fifteen year tenure was mark-
ed by the last extended period of Duke football success.
Bill Murray was born in 1908 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. At Rocky Mount
High School he starred under the tutelage of former Trinity/Duke center
Jimmy Simpson. Murray then attended Duke from 1927-1931, where he was coach-
ed by Jimmy DeHart.
lar senior season,
The highlight of Murray's playing career was a spectacu-
when he led Duke to an 8-1-2 season. A speedy halfback
(he ran sprints for the Duke track team), Murray rushed for an unofficial
1,030 yards, a total since surpassed only by Steve Jones in 1972. Murray was
named to the all-Southern team and was voted the team MVP.
In fact Bill Murray was the protypical Big Man on Campus, seemingly more a
character from a youth football novel than an actual person. In 1928 Murray
was voted the outstanding member of the freshman class. As a senior he won
the Robert E. Lee award as the outstanding member of the graduating class.
He was a member of Omnicron Delta Kappa, a prestigious national leadership
fraternity, and a member of the Red Friars, a Duke honorary society. So over-
whelming was his campus presence that he was elected president of the men's
Student Government Association as a senior without opposition. Murray even
helped coach the freshman basketball team during his final year. To top it
off, Murray married his campus sweetheart, Carolyn Kirby, a coed from Deca-
tur, Georgia. They would have three daughters.