Francis E. “Franny” Murray — a fixture of The Catholic University of America Department of Athletics for 70 years — died Aug. 4, 2016, at the age of 94.
In his years at Catholic University, Murray left an indelible mark on the campus and the generations of men and women who have called it home.
"Franny Murray — an institution within an institution — was much loved at Catholic University and well respected in the D.C. sports community," said University President John Garvey. "He will long be remembered as a steadfast supporter of his beloved Cardinals."
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Murray came to the University in 1946 following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Air Corps. He had enlisted at age 19 and trained as an airplane mechanic. During World War II, he served as a B-25 gunner in New Guinea and the Philippines. With the help of the G.I. Bill, Murray pursued a degree in English, boxed on the varsity team, and met his soon-to-be wife, Eileen, at Catholic University.
After a year at the University, Murray began working in the athletic department and accepted a full-time job when he graduated in 1950. His career included refereeing, assistant coaching, managing facilities and teams, and running the intramural and sports information operations.
In addition to ensuring that all 21 varsity sports team members were outfitted and ready for practices and games, Murray helped countless student-athletes through what is often the biggest transition of their young lives. He possessed an uncanny ability to learn and recall names, toss out a joke, or offer a hug or handshake.
Murray, with his late wife of 58 years, also raised eight children, two of whom attended Catholic University. He was inducted into the University's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988, but had no plans for retirement, continuing his work as equipment manager into his 90s, often seen wearing his yellow cap and rooting for his beloved Cardinals.
In January 2009, the hardwood floor inside the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center was dedicated to him and renamed the Franny Murray Court. That year he also received the University’s highest honor, the President’s Medal.
Viewings and services for Murray will be held at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Hyattsville, Md. A viewing will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 9, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Another viewing will take place Wednesday, Aug, 10, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. The funeral Mass will take place on Aug. 10, at 10 a.m.