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Gene Murphy's law: Former Cal State Fullerton coach had perspective

October 31, 2011 |  9:52 am

"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.

"If that's what it takes to get national recognition, then I never want to be in a position to be nationally ranked." -- After fourth-ranked Arizona scored a touchdown from a no-huddle offense with the starters on the field in the final seconds of a 37-10 victory over the Titans in 1983.

"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 Dufresne: They're college football whiz kids, except when they're not

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-- Chris Foster