Tucson, Ariz. ?- Former University of Arizona Men’s tennis coach Bill Murphy, who coached the Wildcats for eight years (1973-1980), passed away Monday, May 16. He was 87.
Murphy joined the Wildcat staff in 1973 and compiled a record of 99-44 (.692). That record included Western Athletic Conference championships in 1973, 1974, and 1978. Arizona also had NCAA finishes of 10th in 1973, eighth in 1974, and 15th in 1975.
Murphy has authored five books on tennis: Tennis for Beginners, The Tennis Handbook, Complete Book of Championship Tennis Drills, Tennis for Player, Teacher and Coach and A Lifetime Treasury of Tested Tennis Tips-Secrets of Winning Play.
Murphy, who received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1939 and his M.S. in Physical Education from George Williams College in 1941, was a formidable college athlete. He was a Western Illinois and Wisconsin State champion in singles and doubles, a Big Ten doubles champion, with his brother Chet, and a runner-up for the NCAA doubles title.
Murphy began his coaching career at the University of Chicago High School in 1940. He coached soccer, basketball, baseball and tennis there for a year before entering the service. He was a Naval Aviator in World War II (a carrier-based dive bomber pilot) and received several decorations (the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals) for actions against Japanese forces in the Pacific. Following the war, he coached Oak Park (Ill.) High School in 1947-48, and that squad won the Illinois State High School championship.
From there it was on to the University of Michigan where in 22 years coached 10 Big Ten championship teams and in 1957, led the Wolverines to the NCAA title. He compiled a record of 198-45 (.815) at UM. He left Michigan in 1969 and coached at Illinois State University for two years before moving to Arizona.
Murphy was past president of the NCAA Tennis Coaches Association (1965-66) and the Big Ten Tennis Coaches Association. He has also been a member of the U.S. Olympic-Pan American Tennis Committee; NCAA Tennis Committee; U.S. Tennis Association Research and Planning Committee and Junior Development Committee; Lifetime Sports Education Tennis Committee; and United States Lawn Tennis Association-American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
He is survived by his wife, Mary “Mimi” Moylan of Tucson; daughter Elizabeth of Austin, Texas; son, Thomas of Manitou Springs, Colo.; and twin brother, Chet of Tucson.