Published on January 6th, 2016 | by Staples Soccer0
Staples Soccer Mourns Death Of Dennis Murphy ’73
Dennis Murphy ’73 — one of the stars of Staples soccer’s nationally recognized teams in the early 1970s and at Southern Connecticut State University; a leader of the state powerhouse Bridge Grille U-23 teams, and a former Staples assistant coach — died Monday, after a 2 1/2-year battle with esophogeal cancer. He was 60 years old.
Dennis was the oldest of 7 children of the late Ed and Mary Murphy. Along with his 3 brothers — Ed, Ken and Kevin — he formed one of the most memorable family dynasties in Staples soccer history.
As a junior at Staples, Dennis played on the 13-2-1 state championship team. Just 30 seconds into the state finals in 1972, as a senior, Dennis picked up a pass from Jeff Williamson behind Conard’s backs, dribbled to the left, then outfoxed the keeper with a low line drive to the far side. It was the only goal in the Wreckers’ 1-0 victory. They finished 18-0-1, with an FCIAC title to boot.
In high school Dennis was also a member of 3 straight summer state championship teams with the Westport Soccer Club, a forerunner to the Westport Soccer Association. As a key player on the Bridge Grille FC U-23 team, he won 2 more state titles. He also managed the popular bar, for team sponsor Dave Reynolds.
At Southern Connecticut, Dennis moved from his left wing position to midfield. He was captain as both a junior and senior
After graduating in 1977, Dennis stayed at Southern for 2 years as an assistant coach, under famed head coach Bob Dikranian. The Owls reached the NCAA Division II Final Four for the first 2 times in school history.
He returned to Staples the following year as an assistant to head coach Jeff Lea. During 2 stints (1980-82 and 1985-86), the Wreckers won 2 FCIAC championships, and 2 state titles. In between (1983 and ’84), Dennis coached soccer at Coleytown Junior High School.
Dennis also won numerous state championships during a 9-year run as a coach with Bridge Grille FC. He spent 15 years coaching in the Westport Soccer Association, reaching the Eastern US regional finals with his U-18 side. Twice, he took WSA teams to Germany.
Dennis was a demanding, but highly respected, coach. Several years ago, at a Staples alumni Turkey Bowl game, a former player — now middle-aged — saw Dennis on the sidelines. “I’m still scared of him — and I still love him,” the man said.
After moving to Pennsylvania for business, Dennis coached with the nationally known FC Delco program. In 2008, his U-15 team won the state championship.
Dennis — who had been an excellent baseball player too — also coached in the Westport Little League program, assisting his father with legendary Raiders teams. In 1978 and ’79, he served as the chief umpire for the Westport Babe Ruth League.
In 2009, he was honored by the Sportsmen of Westport for his many sports contributions.
Dennis lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His sales career included work with Nike, where he oversaw the Mid-Atlantic licensing territory.
Dennis was married for 28 years to the former Kathleen Mangini. His survivors also include 2 children, Jillian and Shane; his brothers Ed, Ken and Kevin; his sisters Sharon, Maureen and Terri, and many nieces and nephews.
A viewing for Dennis will be held on Friday (January 8, 6-8 p.m.) and Saturday (January 9, 9:30-10:45 a.m.) at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, West Chester, Pennsylvania. The funeral mass is on Saturday (January 9, 11 a.m.). Burial will be private.
Family and friends are welcomed to a luncheon reception following the funeral mass at the Mendenhall Inn in Mendenhall, Pennsylvania for a celebration of Dennis’ life.
For more information, and to view or sign the online condolence book, click here.