Saluting Rich Murray '71
Friday (June 22) marks the end of a storied career at the University of Virginia, where Washington and Lee alumnus Rich Murray, of the Class of 1971, retires after 29 years promoting Cavalier athletic programs, and especially its basketball teams.
A journalism major at W&L, Rich was news director of WAYB radio in Waynesboro, Va., right out of college, but soon joined James Madison University as that school’s sports information director. He became JMU’s public information director in 1975 and then joined U.Va. as the SID in 1983.
Through a calm, gentlemanly demeanor in all his interactions with what could sometimes be hostile interactions with media, Rich became one of the most respected professionals in the field.
In recent days, two Virginia newspaper columnists — Whitey Reid of the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress and David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press — have praised him.
Wrote Reid: “The thing I grew to respect most about Rich was his professionalism. Never heard him curse once or really raise his voice in my entire time with him—no matter how boiling on the inside he may have been.”
Added Teel, who was a JMU student when Rich worked there: “Sports information is a thankless gig. Coaches want publicity, all of it glowing. Media want access, all of it exclusive. Rich balanced those conflicting worlds with grace, humor and energy.”
Teel’s column included words of praise from former U.Va. basketball coaches Terry Holland (“They don’t make them like Mr. Murray anymore, and the ‘class’ with which he did his job will be sorely missed.”) and Jeff Jones (“He’s the epitome of old-school values. Honesty, integrity, hard work, and he never compromised those principles.”)
His peers have also recognized Rich’s excellence and, in 2007, the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VaSID) named a scholarship in his honor — the Rich Murray Scholarship for Sports Journalism is presented annually by VaSID to a Virginia high school student who excels in the area of sports journalism.
Cavalier athletics won’t be the same without him. Congratulations, Rich.