Broadcast Pioneers member Jim Murray is the former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles and a member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Local Operations Advisory Council and past president of the International Advisory Board for the Ronald McDonald Houses. He is also president of Jim Murray Ltd., a sports promotion and marketing firm. Eagles Cheers, a pro football TV show that was introduced in the Philadelphia market, is among the Jim Murray Ltd. productions.
Murray is a native of Philadelphia and a 1960 alumnus of Villanova University. He began his career in sports administration immediately after graduation with the Tidewater Tides of baseball’s Sally League. After a stint of active duty with the Marine Corps Reserve, he returned to baseball as assistant general manager of the Atlanta Crackers, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Murray left baseball in 1964 to enter the restaurant business first in Atlanta and later in Malibu. Two years later, he returned to a sports career as sports information director at Villanova.
In 1969, Murray joined the Philadelphia Eagles public relations staff and two years later he became the NFL team’s administrative assistant. In 1974, just five years after joining the organization, he was named the Eagles’ general manager.
During Murray’s more than nine years as general manager, he took the franchise from the NFLs cellar to Super Bowl heights. In 1976, he and owner Leonard Tose hired Dick Vermeil as head coach. For four consecutive years, from 1978 through 1981, the Eagles made the NFL playoffs under Murray’s guidance. After the 1980 season, the Eagles played the Raiders in Super Bowl XV. It is the only Super Bowl appearance in the franchise’s history. He left the Eagles in 1983.
During his 14 years with the Eagles, Murray assumed leadership roles in a number of community projects. He helped start the very successful Eagles Fly for Leukemia campaign. He was a founder of the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia and helped persuade many of his peers in the NFL to become involved in the unique Ronald McDonald House concept. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide temporary homes, at little or no cost, for the families of children undergoing treatment for various illnesses at nearby hospitals. Started in Philadelphia in 1974, there are now over 200 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide.
In 1983, Murray received pro football’s prestigious Bert Bell Award from The Bakers Club of Philadelphia. Past recipients of the award include former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Chicago Bears founder George Halas and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr. From 1985 to 1987, Murray served as director of Marketing for Garden State Racetrack. In 1987, Murray received President Ronald Reagan’s Medal for Volunteers of America, at a White House ceremony.
In 1992, Murray received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Legion (Department of Pennsylvania) and was inducted into the Philadelphia City All-Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In 1994, Murray received an Honorary Degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College (New Orleans, LA), Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa. October 10, 1995, Murray was honored by the Philadelphia Catholic School System by being inducted into their Distinguished Graduates Hall of Fame.
On November 17, 1995, Murray received La Salle University’s "Signum Fidei Medal" (Sign of Faith) at their Alumni Association Awards Dinner in honor of his Ronald McDonald House achievements. On December 3, 1997, the Philadelphia County Medical Society honored Murray with the Benjamin Rush Humanitarian Award. On April 9, 1999, Murray’s alma mater, West Catholic High School, honored him at the Blue Ribbon Gala as one of their outstanding alumni and January 29, 2002 and he was inducted into their Hall of Fame.
On May 15, 1999, Murray received an honorary degree of letters from his alma mater, Villanova University. On June 20, 1999, Murray was honored by the American Medical Association (Chicago) with the Citizen of the Year Award. On December 2002, Eagles Fly for Leukemia and The Philadelphia Bakers Club honored Murray with the first annual Leonard Tose Award. On April 5, 2003, Neumann College (Aston, Pennsylvania) honored Murray with its Neumann College Presidential Humanitarian Award.
On May 22, 2004, DeSales University (Center Valley, Pennsylvania), Doctor of Human Letters. On June 2, 2005, Holy Family University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Presidential Award, presented to those (including Murray) who have shown distinguished leadership on behalf of our Church and our Catholic community in the arena of politics and public policy. On November 4, 2005, he was the recipient of the Catholic Leadership Institute’s 2005 Award for Outstanding Catholic Leadership. On April 27, 1997, Murray was named one of only twelve Philadelphians honored for their humanitarian deeds. Other distinguished names on the list included Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Girard and The Rev. Leon Sullivan.
Jim Murray and his wife, Dianne, have five children and four grandchildren. The Murrays reside in Rosemont, PA.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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