Joe's Living Memorial to Coach Bob Cole is posted below. It was received on Feb. 19, 2018 and posted that day by Dr. Ed Dugas.
Below Joe's Living Memorial to Coach Cole is his biography and information on his new book - Coming of Age: A Journey of Growth, Culture and Spirit in Cajun Land.
You may copy/paste this Amazon URL to learn more about his book, including how to purchase, etc.
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A Tribute to Coach Bob Cole
As I reflect on the years that I spent under the tutelage of Coach Bob Cole, I do so with many fond memories of the years I spent with him as a track team. It was Coach Cole who gave me the opportunity to walk on as a shot putter on the track team in 1965. I had just come from and not so satisfying high school career and felt that I had something to prove. It was Coach Cole who gave me that opportunity. I think all great men see leadership or potential in others that we do not see in ourselves. I want to believe that Coach Cole saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. What I remember most about him was the way he treated his athletes. He expected us to work hard and to achieve. It was no nonsense. We knew from the outset and from the training that he imposed, that he wanted to win championships. I remember before our first conference meet in 1965, Coach called a team meeting and called out for each of us times and distances that we had to achieve in order to win that conference championship. Some of what he called to us perplexed us as some of us had not even achieved nearly those times and distances. But again, as I say, great men and great coaches see something in their athletes they don’t see in themselves. Coach had that knack. And I guess we took him seriously since we won that first conference championship in 1965. What a turnaround from the year before.
Coach set out to build a dynasty and that he did, for in those following years, our teams would win four consecutive GSC conference championships. Coach would go on to be named NAIA coach of the year, as he produced a National Champion javelin thrower in Louis Lenfant. But what I remember most about coach was that as serious as he was with us on the track, he was just as playful and could joke and make us feel at ease at times of stress. Years later, I would come to realize that Coach Cole was a true players’ coach, because he had a way of being demanding, but yet making us feel that we could joke around with him at times. Coach saw us more than just athletes, he saw us as his sons and we felt that way at times. In the years that I grew with coach Cole, he brought out the best in me and in my fellow teammates, who would become senior leaders on the team. As we grew into those leaders he expected us to lead by example, through our performances. I can’t thank coach enough for his time, his effort, his energy and his investment in me personally as well as in my fellow teammates. As I left USL, I would return to help coach with the conference meet held on campus and would in years to come visit on every occasion that I had to come to Lafayette. It was an honor for me to call him coach and friend. He helped me grow into the man I am today and for that I will be forever grateful.
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Spotlight Feature on Former Athlete: Dr. Joe Murry - Track & Field 1965-69, Weightlifting 1965-68
From Cajuns to Katrina,
Murry knew how to lead
By Bruce Brown
July, 2018 Spotlight on Former Athlete
Joe Murry wanted to find what he was made of.
It's why he walked on to coach Bob Cole's track and field program at USL in 1965, seeking a top end to his skill in the shot put.
That drive also prompted him to become a weight lifter for the Ragin' Cajuns, joining a program of national reknown and adding his own punch to it.
What Murry found was beyond gratifying, as he set school records in the shot put while helping the Cajuns to four straight team titles in Gulf States Conference competition.
He became a captain of the weight lifting squad and went on to a national heavyweight championship to help spark the Cajuns to national collegiate team crowns.
Both sports gave him a platform on which to shine, and he took full advantage.
“Going to college brought me up with goals and aspirations,” Murry said. “And athletics helps you to grow with a sense of confidence. That's not just a cliché. It does build confidence.
“We all worked hard with an end result in mind, and that led me through my whole life. I never had my name up in lights, but I was good for people along the way.”
Never was that more apparent than nearly 40 years later, when Murry was principal at Holy Cross High School in his native New Orleans and steadily guided the school back from the oblivion of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We lived in Metairie, and our house was spared,” Murry said of his home with wife Jane. “But Mom and Dad and other relatives lost everything. They would come back to our place on weekends. It was like Thanksgiving.”
The picture was grim across town.
“The (Holy Cross) campus had 8 feet of water on it,” Murry said. “We had been a shelter for Betsy in 1965, but this time the levees broke. We moved to a satellite campus at Dunham in Baton Rouge while we rebuilt. When we did return, the school was trailers on a site in the Lower Ninth Ward.
“Before, we had 830 kids. We started back with 145. We combined with Cabrini to go co-ed, which got us up to 300. We had night school, and they met in the day. Eventually the enrollment got back to where it had been.”
AP classes and scholarship offers returned.
“People really worked together,” said Murry, typically sharing the credit. “It was really a great effort of people pulling together.
Murry, who retired after the 2017-18 school year, made his way through educational ranks as a teacher and coach who was spotted early as administrative material.
He served as principal at Abramson High for 7.5 years, then led Holy Cross from 2004-18.
“You are your own CEO in the classroom,” Murry said. “You start to create things. People see leadership in you and give you opportunities. You set your sights on something and work towards it, take those steps to get there.
“You get people to work with you. That's my natural demeanor. I'm a collaborative guy. It's always team with me.”
New Orleans all the way
Murry, whose father was a major in the New Orleans Police Department, threw the shot for St. Aloysius but wasn't satisfied with his high school career.
The school had three shot putters over 50 feet, and only two could compete in district and postseason. Murry was the odd man out.
“I read in a Strength and Health magazine that USL had a national champion weight lifting team,” Murry said. “I decided to walk on in track and field, and find a way to also be a weight lifter. Force the issue.
“I met Pat Arceneaux, who was a graduate assistant, and he said to talk to Coach Cole, who welcomed me. The timing was right. It was his second year running the program.”
Weight lifters were equally welcoming, and Murry was in business. The two tasks blended nicely.
“I knew I needed strength and power in the shot,” he said. “We trained for Olympic lifts, not just raw power, somebody throwing 400 pounds over their head. The lifts were dynamic, explosive. You get that hip thrust for that power.”
Shot putter Murry improved. After topping out at 52 feet with the high school 12-pound shot, he eventually excelled at 16 pounds.
“I threw 45 feet my first meet and finished second, and that gave me immediate acceptance,” he said. “I threw 49 at the Gulf States meet as a freshman, and was second, and was named the non-scholarship Athlete of the Year.
“It was a good experience. We all worked hard.”
The Cajuns won that meet, and all four GSC tests during Murry's years.
“We started chasing after records,” said Murry, who set the GSC record of 55-0.75 and school record of 56-2 as a senior.
“The field events would finish early, and I would always stay to cheer the other guys on,” Murry said. “I wanted to represent the school in a positive way.”
It took two years to work his way into the starting lineup in weight lifting, but Murry accepted the high standards of a program that was happy with nothing short of national championships, but his captaincy as a senior was testament to his determination.
That senior year of 1968 provided a remarkable swan song, as Murry earned All-American honors, won the national 242-pound individual title while setting 4 national records and led the Cajuns to a repeat team title in competition on the USL campus.
He did all that while shot putting in a meet during the day and weight lifting that night.
“I knew I was there,” he said. “I could tell during practice when I had 400 pounds over my head. But it doesn't count until you're in the meet. It was a great year.”
Murry added a National Junior title in Milwaukee, set 3 records in winning the AAU Junior Nationals and 2 records in taking the Senior Nationals. He also placed third in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Eventually, Murry earned Masters and PhD degrees in courses focused on education. But he also worked as strength coach of the NFL's Buffalo Bills from 1973-78 before returning to his life's work.
O.J. Simpson rushed for 2,003 yards in 1973 and the Bills led the NFL in rushing under Lou Saban. But it didn't last.
“Our job was to train them up,” Murry said. “We brought in Nautilus and free weights and worked on dynamic lifting. The last two years I was flexibility coach, trying to get great explosiveness.
“But you realize it's a business. It's not glamorous. Those guys take quite a beating. The goal in every locker room is to win the Super Bowl. But success is fleeting. Things started deteriorating and the bottom fell out.”
As new coach Chuck Knox took over, Murry headed South.
“It was a good period for us,” he said, “but we're from New Orleans. It was time to get back home.”
Hurricane or not, Murry had other roads to take, and more life lessons to practice.
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Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr. (Joe)has been the principal of Holy Cross School since 2004. He has spent a quarter century in education, earning Area II Principal of the Year (1997-98) of Orleans Public Schools as well as High School Principal of the Year for Orleans Parish (2001-02)while serving as principal at Abramson High School. Dr. Murry is a graduate of St. Aloysius High School, New Orleans, earned his B.A. from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (presently ULL), a Masters from Southeastern Louisiana University, and his PhD from the University of New Orleans. While attending USL, he was the Gulf States Conference Champion in the shot put and was the captain of the Ragin' Cajun Track Team. He also competed as a member of the Weightlifting Team where, as the team's captain, he set 4 national heavyweight records en route to a national championship. His other weightlifting accolades include: Champion 1968 (set 3 national records), AAU Sr. National Champion 1968 (set 2 national records); All-American Weightlifting Team 1968; YMCA National Champion 1972; 1972 Olympic Trials (3rd place Heavyweight). Dr. Murry was an assistant coach in football, Head Tennis and Soccer Coach, and the Athletic Director at Abramson High School, before being promoted to Principal of the New Orleans school. In addition, he served as an assistant coach at Metairie Park Country Day School and was the Strength Coach and Physical Coordinator for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League from 1973-78.He is a member of the USL Hall of Fame.