New scholarship endowment honors Bates coaching legend Jim Murphy ’69

050227-Murphy-Sunday_044

A newly endowed scholarship fund at Bates honors retired Bates coach Jim Murphy ’69, one of the winningest coaches and athletes in Bates history, in terms of both victories and spirit.

A successful fundraising effort led by three Bates alumni has created an endowed scholarship fund honoring James P. Murphy ’69, the celebrated coach of women’s basketball and soccer who retired in 2015, announced Sarah R. Pearson ’75, vice president for college advancement.

Trustees emeriti Steve Brown ’69 and Bruce Stangle ’70, P’96 and fellow alumnus Tom Lopez ’69 organized the outreach effort to former teammates, players, and classmates of Murphy’s that, to date, has raised more than $130,000.

“From start to finish, these Bates leaders made it happen,” Pearson said. “They created the game plan and executed it to perfection.” The new scholarship will provide annual need-based financial aid to a Bates student, with preference to a Maine student. The first Murphy Scholar will be named in 2016–17.

The fund honors one of the winningest coaches and athletes in Bates history, in terms of both victories and spirit.

Jim Murphy congratulates his team after a win vs. Bowdoin on Feb. 1, 2005. The victory was Murphy's 200th career victory, en route to 343 career victories. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Jim Murphy congratulates his team after a win vs. Bowdoin in 2005. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

In 21 seasons as basketball coach, Murphy’s teams won 343 games and lost 187, earning six NCAA tourney appearances. His soccer teams went 146–93–13 over 16 seasons, winning the 2005 NESCAC title and earning NCAA bids in 1996, 1997, and 2005.

Murphy’s contributions to Bates athletics and athletes go beyond the numbers, says Stangle.

“Both the fund and the team effort behind its creation honor Jim’s selfless contributions to Bates athletics, pursuit of team goals, and intensity of effort,” Stangle says. “It will be a perpetual memorial to Jim at a place he loves.”

Murphy, adds Stangle, “embodies the quintessential Bates characteristics of personal integrity and strength. He was the best student-athlete of his generation at Bates. He knew how to take apart another team and also how to get the best out of his teammates. He was an immensely gifted athlete who made everyone around him better. He has a positive approach to everything he does in life, and people absolutely adore him.”

“The admiration and respect his players have for him still speak volumes.”

Brown, a football teammate of Murphy’s in the 1960s, says playing with him was “like having another coach on the field,” adding that “Jim was not only an outstanding performer, but also a great leader: selfless, humble, and focused. Honors and tributes have never interested him.”

As a coach of young women at Bates in soccer and basketball, “no one at Bates comes close to his record of success,” Brown notes. “The admiration and respect his players have for him still speak volumes.”

franklin-WHoops9664 copy

Katie Franklin ’07 says that Murphy (left, seated) “pushed me to become physically stronger and mentally tougher” while also instilling the “importance of patience, integrity, and modesty.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Lopez, who was also a football teammate of Murphy’s, says that donors responded to the chance to pay tribute to a beloved Bates contemporary. “Scores of former classmates and teammates from the late ’60s and early ’70s have contributed because of their respect for Jim and their love of Bates,” says Lopez.

Katie Franklin ’07, captain of the 2006–07 women’s basketball team, returned to campus in November and joined with former players, parents, and friends to pay tribute to Murphy.

Franklin, a two-time First Team All-NESCAC honoree and an Academic All-America in softball, says she’s proud to support the Murphy Scholarship Fund because he provided her with “invaluable lessons about giving and receiving critical feedback, what it means to be humble in both wins and losses, and most importantly what it means to give it your all for the greater good of the team.”

“He will always be a role model in my life.”

Franklin, an associate with Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm chaired and co-founded by Stangle, adds that “Coach Murphy instilled in me a work ethic and commitment to the team that I have carried from Alumni Gymnasium into my professional career.”

Her coach also “pushed me to become physically stronger and mentally tougher, while simultaneously teaching me the importance of patience, integrity, and modesty,” she adds. “He will always be a role model in my life.”

Katie-franklin 2016 headshot copy

Franklin, an associate with Analysis Group, says Murphy instilled a “work ethic and commitment to the team that I have carried from Alumni Gymnasium into my professional career.” (Photograph courtesy of Analysis Group)

Murphy, who returned to his alma mater in 1994 to lead the women’s varsity soccer and basketball programs, attended Bates at a time when he and his family “didn’t have two nickels,” he says.

Bates financial aid made it possible, says Murphy, who is moved by the honor of having a scholarship established in his name.

“To know that a Maine student who might not otherwise be able to attend Bates will now have the opportunity. It’s very meaningful,” he says.

Just as important, says Murphy, are the relationships behind the scholarship.

“It’s amazing. The friendships that started at Bates and have been sustained by Bates all these years — people who know they can always rely on me and would do the same for me — it’s pretty special.”

For More Information

Contact Eric Foushee, senior director of leadership giving and director of athletic fundraising, at 207-755- 5985 or efoushee@bates.edu. Donors making online gifts to the fund should express their designation by writing “James P. Murphy ’69 Scholarship Fund” in the “Additional Comments” field on the giving page.

View Comments