In the heralded adolescence of the University of Pennsylvania track program, Mike Murphy was the man who guided the athletes to their stellar achievements.  He was Penn’s track coach and athletic trainer from 1896-1900, and after a second stint at Yale, came back to coach from 1905-1913.  During that time, he coached three Olympic teams (1900, 1908 and 1912).  Out of the 21 teams he coached, eight of them won intercollegiate championships, four of them at Penn, in 1907, 1910, 1912 and 1913.


The athletes Murphy coached were second-to-none as well, including fellow inductees Alvin Kraenzlein, Ted Meredith, Leroy Mercer, Walter Tweksbury, Mike Dorizas and T. Truxtun Hare, all of whom were Olympians.  In addition, Murphy is credited with developing the modern crouched starting method for sprinters.


Today, a plaque erected by the Pennsylvania Varsity Club still stands in Franklin Filed, honoring Michael C. Murphy, with his most famous quote inscribed on it: “You can’t lick a team that won’t be licked.” He was much revered, even after his retirement.  Upon his death, the University hung its flags at half-mast and cancelled all of its athletic competitions.