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Coach Gene Murphy spent 15 seasons at the helm of the Fullerton College Hornet football program, and spent 45 years in the profession as a nationally recognized coach.
The coaching veteran had an overall record of 80-75-2 at Fullerton leading his teams to division records of .500 or better in nine of fifteen seasons. Murphy’s 2003 team set numerous school records, including most points scored (417), seven straight road victories, along with a Mission Conference Championship ending the season with a 10-3 record, and a trip to the Southern California Finals. The Hornets ended the season with a No. 14 ranking by USA TODAY, and Murphy was voted Coach of the Year by the Mission Conference and the State’s Region IV.
Before he came to Fullerton College, Murphy spent 13 seasons down the road as the head coach at NCAA Division-1 Cal State Fullerton where he led the Titans to two Pacific Coast Athletic Association (now Big West) championships and four second-place finishes.
His 1984 team, featuring then future NFL star Mark Collins, posted a 12-0 record (after a UNLV forfeit was recognized) and finished the season ranked among the top 20 in the nation. Murphy was named PCAA Coach of the Year in 1983 and UPI West Coast Coach of the Year in 1984.
Budget woes at Cal State Fullerton severely impacted the program over the next several years, but Murphy’s fund-raising efforts and community involvement played a key role in the construction of Titan Stadium, which opened in 1992. However, with the team facing an uncertain future as a result of continued budget cuts, Murphy announced his resignation October 1, 1992, effective at the end of the season. Shortly after his announcement, the school announced it was dropping football for a season, and a hoped-for return of Titan football in 1994 never materialized. During his 13-year tenure at Cal State Fullerton, Murphy had 26 players selected in the NFL draft. Another 22 former players moved on to the Canadian Football League, with three - Damon Allen, Allan Pitts and Mike Pringle setting all-time CFL records. Murphy also coached former Major League slugger Phil Nevin, a former Titan punter. In addition, more than 25 of Murphy’s former assistants have gone on to positions as head coaches, coordinators or assistants at the college or professional level. Several of Murphy’s former assistants coached in the NFL such as Steve Mariucci, Jerry Brown, Tom Cable, Ed Donatell, Hue Jackson, Mike Heimerdinger, and Richard Smith. Murphy was honored by the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Department in 2009 when he was inducted into their Hall of Fame.
A proud New Jersey native, Murphy played quarterback at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Dakota, earning all-conference honors at UND. After coaching high school sports in St. Paul, Minnesota, Murphy returned to UND as a football assistant for 12 years before taking over the head position in 1978. During his tenure as offensive coordinator and head coach at UND, his teams won six conference titles and played in five bowl games. His 1979 squad posted a 10-2 record earning Murphy Coach of the Year honors. For his outstanding achievements at UND, Murphy was inducted to its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.