University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 6, No. 1/1996
Memorializing Coach Murray

     A bust of the late William D. (Bill) Murray, head football
coach and athletic director at Delaware from 1940-50, was
unveiled at halftime ceremonies during the Delaware-
West Chester game Sept. 21.
     Martin T. Pierson, Delaware '44M, '51M, spearheaded the
effort to memorialize the coach of the 1946 Cigar Bowl team.
Pierson played for the UD football teams of '40, '41' and '42 and
was Murray's assistant coach from 1946-50. Gene DiSabatino,
Delaware '43, donated the pedestal for the bust, which was
sculpted by Franklin U. Creech of Smithfield, N.C. Creech created
a similar bust of Murray for Duke University, where he was
honored as both player and coach.
     Murray's coaching record is one of the truly great stories
of UD gridiron history. After dropping the first three games of
1940 without scoring a point, Murray's Delaware teams did not
lose another contest until Oct. 3, 1947-a 32-game string of
victories. That time period included the Second World War, which
brought a hiatus to Delaware football, but Murray kept in touch
with his players in the military service through letters and an
informal newsletter.
     In 1946, varsity football returned to the campus with a team
of veterans who had a perfect 10-0 season and bowl bids. Murray
allowed his players to choose from among the invitations and,
reflecting the seriousness of older players, the group opted for
the Cigar Bowl in Tampa because it was scheduled during the
Christmas holidays and would not interfere with academic work. A
party of 71 players, coaches, officials and wives boarded the
train in Newark station for the trip and returned victorious,
beating Rollins College 21-7, although the Blue Hens had never
before played in such heat.
     Surviving members of that 1946 team attended reunion
activities on the day of the unveiling.
     Alumni who would like to contribute to the Murray bust or to
a second one planned of the late David M. Nelson, head football
coach from 1951-65, are asked to contact Kathleen Houghton,
director of development for athletics, telephone (302) 831-6276.