Gene Murphy's law: Former Cal State Fullerton coach had perspective
"We have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do everything and anything with nothing." -- Slogan in Cal State Fullerton football offices.
Gene Murphy, Father Flanagan with a coach’s whistle, died Saturday at 72, and the world is a less joyful place.
Murphy was Cal State Fullerton’s football coach from 1980 until the program was dropped in 1992, and the only coach to achieve success with the orphan-like program.
No stadium. No money. No hope. Yet Murphy won two Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. titles., dared to play anyone (for a paycheck) and provided those who covered his teams with quotes that would make today’s I’ll-Have-To-Look-At-The-Tape coaches shudder.
Only Murph can capture Murph properly:
"The fat lady was singing even before the national anthem that time. They came out on the field and every player and coach was crying. I knew right then we were dead." -- Recalling a 31-0 loss to Pacific in 1982 in a game played days after opposing Coach Bob Toledo announced his resignation.
"There's all this talk about me going here or there, but I'll tell you one thing. I wouldn't be going anywhere except up to Minnesota to become a fishing guide if it wasn't for these kids." -- Responding to speculation about job offers during Fullerton's 11-1 season in 1984 during which the Titans were briefly ranked in the Top 20.
"Oh, I say, 'We'll be playing at ruphymshrdlpst.' " -- Describing in 1985 how he answers recruits' questions about where the homeless Titans would play their home games.
"I've got to admit it. I had a tingle. The adrenaline was pumping. Then they kicked off.” -- Describing the experience of playing in front of 73,452 screaming fans in a 56-12 loss to Louisiana State in 1987.
"I'm a company man. I refuse to comment." -- After being asked, with Athletic Director Ed Carroll looking on, whether the $200,000 guarantee was enough money to compensate for the experience of a 65-0 loss to Florida in 1987.
"The chances are I'll be right here next season. I guess I'm just a Cal State Fullerton kinda guy." -- After one of many postseasons in which he was rumored to be leaving Fullerton, 1985.
-- Chris Foster