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Fullerton, Calif. - An overflow crowd numbering in the vicinity of 1,000 people paid their final respects Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, at St. Juliana Catholic Church to former Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College football coach Gene Murphy, who died Oct. 29, 2011, at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles.
Murphy, 72, had undergone surgery for cancer of the esophagus on Oct. 25.
Murphy is survived by a 14-year-old daughter, Aileen, and her mother, Christine McCarthy, the Titans' former athletics academic advisor, as well as two adult sons, Tim and Mike, and four grandchildren.
MEMORIAL DONATIONS: Memorial donations should be made to either the Eugene "Gene" Murphy Football Endowment within the Univ. of North Dakota Foundation, 3100 University Avenue, Stop 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202-8157. Toll-free 800-543-8764
The Aileen Murphy Educational Trust in care of Christine McCarthy, 2500 E. Imperial Hwy, Suite 201 #139, Brea, CA 92821.
Murphy coached at CSF from 1980 through the program's demise in 1992. He stepped two miles west and picked up the community college program in 1993 and remained there, most recently in a consulting role to head coach Tim Byrnes. Murphy was head coach at his alma mater, North Dakota, in 1978 and 1979 before instilling life into the Titans' program, which had not had a winning season at the Div. I level. He won the PCAA championships in 1983 and 1984 and took the Titans to the 1983 California Bowl. The 1984 team went 11-1 (12-0 with a forfeit) and was ranked in the National Top 20.
Murphy was a highly popular coach with contacts around the nation and in Canada. His "coaching tree" includes NFL head coaches such as Steve Mariucci, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson and collegiate coaches such as Rich Ellerson at Army, Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, Northwestern defensive coordinator Jerry Brown and Oregon State defensive coordinator Greg Newhouse. There are other numerous coaches at both levels who served under Murphy.
Most notable among his former players are quarterback Damon Allen, pro football's No. 2 all-time passing yardage leader, and Mike Pringle, the alltime leading rusher in the CFL. Super Bowl cornerbacks Bobby Kemp (CIncinnati) and Mark Collins (New York Giants) played for Murphy as well as Chicago Bears' "robocop" tight end Jim Thornton.
Murphy was inducted into Cal State Fullerton's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.