Longtime Wittenberg player, multiple-sport coach Ron Murphy dies
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- One of Wittenberg’s most revered coaches across multiple sports, Ron Murphy, class of 1960, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday.
Murphy was a four-year letterwinner in football for the Tigers, scoring 34 touchdowns in his collegiate career. He returned to his alma mater to serve as a coach and professor for nearly 30 years, and he had a tremendous impact upon thousands of students while leading the football, men’s tennis and men’s track & field teams.
Murphy served as an assistant to National College Football Hall of Fame inductees Bill Edwards and Dave Maurer on the football field before taking the helm in 1984. In five seasons as Wittenberg’s head coach, Murphy compiled a record of 34-17, culminating with a first-place finish in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) in 1988 and one of the greatest upsets in program history, a double-overtime victory at Dayton in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
As a player, Murphy was a member of two OAC championship teams. As an assistant coach, he contributed to 12 league titles, and as a head coach he guided the Tigers to one crown. He was an assistant in the program when Wittenberg captured three poll titles in the 1960s and two NCAA Division III tournament championships in 1973 and '75, in addition to runner-up finishes in '78 and '79.
Murphy also coached the men’s track & field and men’s tennis teams to much success during his tenure, with the track & field team achieving a record of 88-32-4 in dual meets during 16 years and the men’s tennis team winning six consecutive OAC championships in the late 1980s.
In 1995, Murphy was granted emeritus status upon his retirement after 28 distinguished years as an associate professor in the Department of Health & Physical Education.
Murphy was inducted into Wittenberg’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2000. His son Greg, a 1977 Wittenberg graduate who died in December 2013 after a lengthy battle with leukemia, is also a member of Athletics Hall of Honor after an All-American collegiate career with the Tiger baseball team.
A longtime resident of Springfield, Murphy is survived by wife Mary Jo, his daughter Lysa and four grandchildren. Littleton & Rue Funeral Home in Springfield will be handling funeral arrangements, the details of which are forthcoming. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.LittletonAndRue.com.