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Former College Star Murray Dies

June 29, 1998

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Francis ``Franny″ Murray, an all-American in football and basketball at the University of Pennsylvania who played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, had died at 82.

He died Sunday at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., of complications from a stroke four years ago. He moved to Boca Raton from Philadelphia in 1981.

Murray, who also was Penn’s athletic director, was inducted into Penn’s Athletic Hall of Fame last month. He was too ill to attend the ceremony and was represented by his wife, Elizabeth Spatola Murray.

From 1934 to 1936, Murray was part of the Quakers’ famed ``Destiny Backfield″ that also featured Lew Elverson, Bill Kurlish and Eddie Warwick. He was the last surviving member of the group.

When Penn defeated Michigan 27-7 in 1936, Murray handled the signal-calling and blocking and also punted, dropping the ball inside the Wolverines’ 12-yard line six times, including two kicks inside the 5. He scored two touchdowns, passed to Elverson for a touchdown, kicked three extra points and intercepted four passes.

He was especially known for his kicking, averaging 67 yards per punt, including an 80-yarder, in the 1936 season.

Michigan coach Happy Kipke called Murray ``one of the greatest backs I have ever seen either as a player or a coach,″ according to Mrs. Murray.

Murray was Penn’s basketball captain in his junior year, and in his senior year was co-captain of the team and named to the Helms Foundation All-America Squad compiled under the supervision of the great sports writer Damon Runyon.

He coached at a local school for a year after college, then was host on a nightly sports show on a local radio station. He played halfback and was the punter for the Eagles in 1939 and 1940.

Murray organized sports and musical events at Veterans Stadium as executive director of the Philadelphia Inquirer Charities, worked in public relations and advertising for Crown Cork & Seal and as an independent paper broker for Scott Paper Co.

In addition to his wife, Murray is survived by daughters Sharon Fogarty and Susan Moore, and by three granddaughters.

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