Robert (Bob) Murrey
Robert (Bob) Murrey was a lifelong educator—teacher, coach, sports/athletic administrator, referee, businessman, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. He passed away on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at age 90 in Columbia, MO where he had lived since 2007. Prior to moving to Columbia, he was a resident of Ladue, MO for 46 years.
Bob was born on April 10, 1928 in Little Rock, Arkansas to the late Mary Louise Murrey and the late James Thomas Murrey. He spent his first fourteen years there before moving to Waynesville, MO, where his father was a civilian administrator at Fort Leonard Wood. Bob graduated from Waynesville High School in 1946 where he led the basketball team to a 3rd Place finish in the one class Missouri State High School Basketball Tournament and was named to the All State Team.
After high school graduation in 1946, Bob received an invitation to try out for the St. Louis Browns baseball team but left workouts early to serve in the Army where he attained the rank of Sergeant. In 1947 he received a basketball and baseball scholarship to the University of Missouri and after another year of military duty from 1951-52 he graduated in 1952 with a B.S. in Physical Education and a Masters in Secondary Education. At Missouri Bob earned three letters in Basketball while playing for Wilbur “Sparky” Stalcup and two letters in Baseball while playing for Hi Simmons. Bob was also amember and president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity while at Missouri.
Bob was a high school boys basketball coach for thirteen years. Upon graduation in 1952 Bob was hired as basketball coach and athletic director at Troy (MO) High School where he coached for two seasons, leading the 1953-54 team to a 32-8 record and 3rd place in Missouri State High School Basketball Tournament. Bob returned to Columbia, MO in 1954 where he coached basketball and baseball at Hickman High School. After three years, in 1957 he became the basketball coach at Clayton (MO) High School in suburban St. Louis, MO where he coached another eight seasons. In 1965 Bob became the director of health and physical education for the Clayton School District.
In 1967 Bob was hired by Meramec Community College in St. Louis as their first Director of Athletics. Over 17 years he built the athletic program from the ground up into a nationally-recognized program whose teams regularly won and competed for national championships during his tenure. In 1984, after 32 years in the Missouri Public School Education System, he took “early retirement”.
Bob was a pioneer in the coaching clinic business, the business of “coaching coaches”. In 1964, he founded the St. Louis Basketball Coaching Clinic with UCLA coach John Wooden as the main speaker. Coach Wooden had just led UCLA to its first of 10 national championships and he became a regular clinic speaker for the next 27 years. Over the years, Murrey had many partners with his coaching clinic business. From 1965-74 he joined with former St. Louis University/Michigan State coach John Benington and former Boston Celtic/St. Louis Hawks all-star Ed Macauley to run the Seven-Up Coaches Clinics. Sponsorships from Medalist Sports Education (1974-1984) and MacGregor Sporting Goods (1984-1989) allowed Bob to expand the clinics nationally to 60 clinics annually in 6 sports (basketball, football, volleyball, baseball/softball, soccer, track & field) and to develop an extensive sports education library of teaching tools, books and videos for coaches. In 1989 he formed USA Coaches Clinics with Billy Packer, Hubie Brown, and St. Louis businessman Tom Holley, and in 1998 took over sole ownership until 2010. Over 46 years he conducted well over 1000 clinics in many sports which were attended by hundreds of thousands of coaches, with top Division 1, professional, and high school coaches coaching and teaching other coaches. Bob Knight worked with Bob for 34 years and other successful coaches such as Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Roy Williams, John Calipari, Lou Holtz, and Tony Dungy were frequently on clinic staffs.
Bob also found time to be a high school and college basketball official for 24 years through 1974 and officiated games for the Big 8 and Missouri Valley Conferences, as well as the Missouri Junior College Athletic Conference. He also founded the Basketball Officials Opportunities (BOO) camp to help young officials improve and work up the ladder in the college ranks.
Throughout his career, he earned many accolades for his hard work and dedication to helping others, especially young coaches. In 1983 Bob was recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) for his 20 years of contributions to the game of basketball. In 1984 he was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame in recognition of his noteworthy contributions to intercollegiate athletics. He was also honored by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for his 17 years of Service and he was also inducted into the Meramec Community College Hall of Fame. In 1991 Bob was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as a Basketball Contributor. He was a 2003 Nominee for the James A. Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor. Bob was again honored in 2003 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) which awarded him its GUARDIANS OF THE GAME honor for his commitment to educating coaches. Bob was a proud member of the NABC for 58 years.
He was a congregation member of Bethel Lutheran Church in University City, MO for almost 60 years and regularly attended the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, MO since 2009.
Bob was an avid sports fan with a tradition of attending the Final Four each year with his family (by his count he attended 56 of the last 60). He enjoyed attending football and basketball games at his alma mater Mizzou and loved the St. Louis Cardinals. He looked forward to seeing his Columbia friends and former coaches every morning at the Hy-Vee in Columbia. Bob made lifelong friends throughout every stop in his career and stayed connected with his many friends, coaching contemporaries, former players, high school and college teammates, fraternity brothers, etc. He cherished the time he spent passing on his wisdom and advice to his children and grandchildren. His zest for life left its mark on his family and many friends and he has been an inspiration to us all for how to fully live one’s life.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Margaret Diane Murrey and a son, Robert. He is survived by two sons, Matthew (Sue Ellen) of Wellesley, MA; Michael (Susan) of Western Springs, IL and a daughter, Meg Caplis (Jim) of Alpharetta, GA; his brother, William (Thelma) Murrey of Kennesaw, GA; eight grandchildren: Catherine Murrey, Ryan Murrey, James Murrey, William Murrey, Thomas Caplis, Molly Caplis, Annie Caplis, and Maddie Caplis; and his life companion since 2006, Virginia (Ginny) Northcutt; her son Jeff Fetterhoff (Amy) of Lake St. Louis; daughter Jennifer Mortimore (Jon) of Lake St. Louis; and her five grandchildren: Sydney Fetterhoff, Carter Fetterhoff, Jeffrey Fetterhoff, Christopher Mortimore, and Samuel Mortimore.
A private burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery will be held on March 21, 2019 followed by a memorial service which will be held at 2:00 PM on March 21, 2019 at Bethel Lutheran Church, 7001 Forsyth Blvd. in University City, MO.
A second memorial service will be held in Columbia, MO later this spring at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to:
NABC Foundation Benevolent Fund
In Memory of Robert E. Murrey
ATTN: Stephanie Witcher
1111 Main Street – Suite 1000
Kansas City, MO 64105-2136
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
2900 Sheridan Road
St. Louis, MO 63125
2:00 PM March 21, 2019
Bethel Lutheran Church
7001 Forsyth Boulevard
University City, MO 63130
Phone: (314) 863-3112