Dr. Harvey Frank Murphy, 87, of Charlotte died Monday, February 5, 2018.
Dr. Murphy was born on September 3, 1930 in Enterprise, Alabama to Emma Ethel Heath Murphy and Luther Irvin Murphy, Sr. He was the youngest of six siblings.
Enterprise was his home until 1958. As an athlete at Enterprise High School he earned letters in basketball, baseball and football. He was also active in other activities, including theatre, Glee Club, and school newspaper.
In 1948, Dr. Murphy was recruited to play basketball at Troy State Teacher’s College (now Troy State University). His education was interrupted in 1950 by a call to serve two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He returned to Troy State in 1952 to complete his undergraduate education and play an additional year of basketball. After graduation, he received a Master’s Degree in physical education from Columbia University. While at Columbia, he served as Sportsmaster at St. Thomas Choir School for Boys.
In 1955 he returned to his home town to accept a teaching and coaching position at the local high school. He taught history, health, science, and government while serving as assistant football coach, head basketball coach and baseball coach.
In 1958 Dr. Murphy moved to Shorter College in Rome, Georgia to start an athletic program for men. Shorter had only recently started to admit men. He served as athletic director, basketball coach and tennis coach. After starting a baseball program, he gave up tennis coaching to focus on baseball.
He became more curious about the fitness adaptations athletes and others make as they engage in physical activity. His curiosity led him to look for a doctoral program which matched his interest. His quest led him to the University of Illinois at Urbana, and to Dr. Thomas K. Cureton, a pioneer exercise scientist.
Shortly after being awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree, he made a fateful trip to Charlotte to interview with Bonnie E. Cone. Within less than an hour they were talking about how to turn UNC Charlotte into a first-rate university. He spent thirty-one years at UNC-Charlotte and helped guide its growth in many ways including serving as interim men’s basketball coach from 1965 to 1970, and athletic director from 1965 to 1972. He was a catalyst for the beginning of the hugely successful intramural program, the University’s move to NCAA Division One athletic status, and the development of the programs of the Department of Health Promotion and Kinesiology. He chaired the Department for thirty-one years.
Dr. Murphy was also in the forefront in bringing the University and its outside constituents together. Among many successful efforts were work with the American Heart Association, The North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department, and the Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital to bring Charlotte’s first Cardiac Rehabilitation Program to fruition. Dr. Murphy personally introduced exercise stress testing on a treadmill to Charlotte. He and Department colleagues developed fitness programming for emergency service providers including fire fighters and police officers. He was a liberal contributor to developing YMCA programming and personnel training programs. As Department Chair he gave substantial support to faculty members who were involved in health fitness and promotion activities, including national and international efforts.
Leading with integrity, compassion, and a sense of humor, Dr. Murphy was a beloved scholar, mentor, coach and friend. In 2010, through the concerted efforts of UNC Charlotte faculty and staff, former students, and student athletes, family and friends, The Dr. Harvey F. Murphy Scholarship was established to be available each year to a meritorious student in the Department of Kinesiology. The scholarship is fully endowed.
Dr. Murphy is survived by his wife of 49 years, Michelle, Son Steven B. Murphy and daughter-in- law, Cheryl, Charlotte, NC., and grandsons Richard Steven Murphy, Winston-Salem, NC., and Michael H. Murphy, Boone, N.C., and many beloved nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice, or to the UNC Charlotte Foundation, UNC Charlotte, Office of University Development, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte NC 28223. Please note on the memo line: Dr. H.F. Murphy Scholarship.
The family would like to thank Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region for their loving care and support.
A service honoring Dr. Murphy’s life will be at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, 3501 W WT Harris Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28269, with
The Reverend Mary Frances Comer officiating.
James Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at www.jamesfuneralhomelkn.com.