Robert Murray Inducted 2005 - Class of 1977
While all of our inductees are being honored tonight for their outstanding contributions to Woodward High School and/or outstanding achievements after leaving Woodward, Bob Murray shares something rather special with three of the other 2005 Hall of Fame Inductees: he met his future wife while they were both students at Woodward.
Bob was raised in the north end in the Lagrange School neighborhood. His best friends in high school were Bill Hall, Bob Steedman, and Jim Gates. Bob will tell you he wasn't a stand-out while a student at Woodward. It wasn’t until he returned many years later that Bobby Murray became the "Can Do" guy at Woodward. And a lot of what he has given Woodward is because of his great love of working with Woodward athletes and because when he was given lemons, Bob made lemonade.
Bob didn’t include this next bit of information in his bio, but many at Woodward who admire him know the story. Bob was a production supervisor at Jeep. He was responsible for a department of
fifty-four employees and six hundred car builds per day. In his early thirties, Bob was found to have heart disease that required open heart surgery. Unable to return to his factory job, Bob could have settled for a life of leisure. But the guy with the mullet (you know, business in front, party out back), the guy who wears shorts in February, saw the great needs in the Woodward Athletic Department and stepped up to the plate. He began by volunteering as softball and baseball coach. He moved on to some paid coaching positions including junior varsity and varsity volleyball and junior varsity softball. Outside of Woodward, he has coached grade school flag football, USVBA women's volleyball, and both men’s and women's slow pitch softball. He has also refereed junior high basketball, umpired slow pitch softball, and was Director of the Junior Olympic Volleyball Tournament and Woodward Volleyball Camp Director. From 1996-1999, he was coordinator of the Woodward Wrestling Tournament. When he saw that coaching wasn't the only need at Woodward, he joined in fund raising, too. He was chairman of many of the Woodward June Carnivals. And currently, he is Co-Chairman of Polar Bear 200, a reverse raffle held every January. Polar Bear 200 raises thousands of dollars every year for Woodward. There is not a club, organization or team at Woodward that hasn't had life a little better because of help from Polar Bear 200.
His athletic knowledge and dedication have been awarded in many ways. He was awarded the Ohio High School Athletic Association Award for Ethics, Integrity, and Sportsmanship in 1998. In 1986, he was awarded with the Men's and Women’s Softball Coach of the year Award and in the same year was a member of the All Star Appalachian League. In 1987, he was recognized with the USSA First Team All State Softball Award. Toledo Public Schools honored Bob with their highest volunteer award, the Silver Slate, before he ever landed a paid coaching position at Woodward.
As mentioned earlier, Bob met his wife Alice while they were both students at Woodward. They dated all through high school and have now been married for twenty years. Bob says, "Alice is my biggest supporter. She is always there for me." Alice is a Physical Education teacher at Woodward. In fact, Alice was the Assistant Athletic Director at one time and when she decided to give up the job, Bob was her successor. But it's not the work included in their job descriptions that wins Alice and Bobby a place in the hearts of so many staff members and students. It's all the extras they do such as filling in for absent coaches and stopping by the gym to observe teams during a regular practice. Woodward alumnus and former athlete Jamie Spino was quoted in the April 1998 Tattler, "They go out of their ways to help you with a problem. They're always there to talk to and easy to find. They treat you like their own." Bob says that most of his favorite memories of Woodward are of all the athletes he has coached and the difference he has helped make in their young lives. He shares, "I love coaching our kids at Woodward. They are a special group."
No matter how busy WHS Athletics keeps him, Bob also owns and works in two of his own companies. The first is a home remodeling business that does general home remodeling and repairs. The second is Smith and Murray Investigations. Bob's partner in both of these businesses is friend, former Woodward teacher and Woodward softball coach Dan Smith.
In his spare time, Bobby enjoys playing golf and cards with his friends, but usually, you'll see him at Woodward, usually surrounded by Woodward athletes.