Throughout his prestigious career as player, coach, and eventually athletic director, Billy J. Murphy was one of the most respected figures in the athletic community, not only locally, but also on the regional and national levels. As a player at Mississippi State in the early 1940s, Murphy was a star tailback and All-SEC selection. A decorated marine in World War II, he began his coaching career at Memphis State under Ralph Hatley, whom he later succeeded. After stints as assistant coach at Mississippi State and the University of Minnesota, Murphy became head coach at MSU in 1958. During a ten-year period through the sixties, Coach Murphy was rated eleventh in the nation in win and loss records. He racked up an impressive football head coaching record of 91-44-1. In taking his football program from obscurity to prominence, Murphy had set a standard of coaching excellence. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed and in 1963, he received the Coach of the Year Award from the “Detroit News.” He was also the recipient of the Memphis Civilian Award in 1963. After his coaching days were finished, Murphy began a successful career as athletic director at MSU. Under his leadership, the university gained national recognition in the athletic arena. A man who excelled in all areas of endeavor, Billy J. Murphy will forever be remembered for his heroic efforts on and off the football field.