University of Delaware Office of Public Relations The Messenger Vol. 6, No. 1/1996 Memorializing Coach Murray A bust of the late William D. (Bill) Murray, head football coach and athletic director at Delaware from 1940-50, was unveiled at halftime ceremonies during the Delaware- West Chester game Sept. 21. Martin T. Pierson, Delaware '44M, '51M, spearheaded the effort to memorialize the coach of the 1946 Cigar Bowl team. Pierson played for the UD football teams of '40, '41' and '42 and was Murray's assistant coach from 1946-50. Gene DiSabatino, Delaware '43, donated the pedestal for the bust, which was sculpted by Franklin U. Creech of Smithfield, N.C. Creech created a similar bust of Murray for Duke University, where he was honored as both player and coach. Murray's coaching record is one of the truly great stories of UD gridiron history. After dropping the first three games of 1940 without scoring a point, Murray's Delaware teams did not lose another contest until Oct. 3, 1947-a 32-game string of victories. That time period included the Second World War, which brought a hiatus to Delaware football, but Murray kept in touch with his players in the military service through letters and an informal newsletter. In 1946, varsity football returned to the campus with a team of veterans who had a perfect 10-0 season and bowl bids. Murray allowed his players to choose from among the invitations and, reflecting the seriousness of older players, the group opted for the Cigar Bowl in Tampa because it was scheduled during the Christmas holidays and would not interfere with academic work. A party of 71 players, coaches, officials and wives boarded the train in Newark station for the trip and returned victorious, beating Rollins College 21-7, although the Blue Hens had never before played in such heat. Surviving members of that 1946 team attended reunion activities on the day of the unveiling. Alumni who would like to contribute to the Murray bust or to a second one planned of the late David M. Nelson, head football coach from 1951-65, are asked to contact Kathleen Houghton, director of development for athletics, telephone (302) 831-6276.