Inducted February 24, 1996
Mike Murphy is one of the premier linebackers the football Bears have ever had, with the size and speed that attracted strong interest from professional scouts as his SMS playing career evolved. A product of St. Louis St. Mary’s High School, Murphy played in six games for the Bears of Coach Don Cross as a freshman in 1975, and was then a three-year starter from 1976 through 1978 for Coach Rich Johanningmeier. Murphy led the SMS defense in unassisted (40) and total tackles (107) as a sophomore in 1976 and achieved the rare distinction of gaining all-conference first team honors in the MIAA as a sophomore. Murphy suffered a serious ankle injury while blocking a punt in the first half at Northwestern Oklahoma State in the fourth game of his junior year and was lost for the rest of that season. He came back strong as a senior in 1978, spearheading the defensive unit that was a key in the Bears’ unbeaten MIAA championship campaign in an overall 8-3 year. Murphy again led SMS in solo tackles (38) and total tackles (158) setting an SMS single season record for tackles as he returned to all-MIAA first team honors and was the SMS nominee for the league’s MVP award. He also earned all-America honorable mention from The Sporting News. Murphy wound up his SMS career with 318 total tackles, the second best total ever recorded at the time he closed out his playing days. Murphy started 25 of the 32 games in which he played for the bears, and finished with three fumble recoveries, six pass interceptions which he returned 147 yards, seven pass deflections, four blocked kicks and 17 sacks. His 79-yard touchdown at Missouri-Rolla in 1978 is still the second longest pass interception return in SMS history. Murphy was selected in the fifth round of the 1979 National Football League draft by the Houston Oilers and spent parts of three seasons with Houston and Miami before winding up his playing career with the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League.