Catholic University pays tribute to Franny Murray

Catholic University President John Garvey described the late Franny Murray, who served the Department of Athletics for 70 years, as a man of wisdom who was “a father to the students who needed one.”

Mike Allen, vice president for student affairs, noted Murray’s wit. When he started working at the University in 2005, Allen recalled Murray telling him that the drinking age in Washington, D.C., used to be 18. “Franny said, ‘It was a different time back then … what happened in the cage stayed in the cage’ ” — a reference to the storage area for athletic equipment in Murray’s office.

But the most emotional remembrance of Murray at an Aug. 10 reception following his funeral was delivered by his son-in-law Joseph Mallon. Choking back tears, Mallon noted that his father-in-law “never displayed anger or impatience in the 37 years that I knew him. We’re all happy to have known him and we’re all better people for it.”

At one point during the reception, the sounds of “New York, New York” sung by Frank Sinatra — Murray’s favorite singer — filled the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, where about 200 staff, faculty, and alumni gathered to celebrate Murray. He passed away Aug. 4 at the age of 94.

In January 2009, the hardwood floor inside the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center was dedicated to him and renamed the Franny Murray Court. That year he also received the University’s highest honor, the President’s Medal.