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Former Cal State Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy Dies

He coached the school's now-defunct football program for its final 13 years and led it to its only bowl game. He died Saturday, four days after surgery.

Gene Murphy, who coached the now-defunct Cal State Fullerton football team for its final 13 seasons, died Saturday. He was 72.

Murphy died at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles, four days after undergoing surgery for cancer of the esophagus, announced Cal State Fullerton's senior associate athletic director/media relations Mel Franks.

Murphy coached the Titans from 1980 through 1992, the school's final football season. He had announced his retirement several weeks before the university announced it was dropping football for financial reasons.

After that, Murphy coached nearby Fullerton College's football team from 1993-2007 and remained as a consultant to its athletic department until his death.

Murphy coached Cal State Fullerton to the 1983 championship of the then-Pacific Coast Athletic Association—now the Big West Conference—and its only bowl appearance, a 20-13 loss to Northern Illinois in the California Bowl.

The 1984 Titans had an 11-1 on-field record and later were credited with a forfeit victory over Nevada Las Vegas for a 12-0 record.

Murphy's coaching staffs at Cal State Fullerton included future NFL coaches Steve Mariucci, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson.

Murphy's players included cornerbacks Mark Collins (New York Giants) and Bobby Kemp (Cincinnati Bengals) and tight end Jim Thornton (Chicago Bears), as well as two stars of the Canadian Football League, quarterback Damon Allen and running back Mike Pringle, who is regarded as one of the CFL's greatest players.

Murphy's career record with the Titans was 59-89-1. He was inducted into Cal State Fullerton's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Murphy was the coach at his alma mater, North Dakota, in 1978 and 1979.

Murphy is survived by a 15-year-old daughter, Aileen, her mother, Christine McCarthy, two adult sons, Tim and Mike, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending and most likely are more than a week away,
Franks said.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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