Norm Murray, Voice of Long Island Lacrosse, Passes Away
The first time I walked in the Shuart Stadium press box at Hofstra University, I immediately noticed a unique street sign abutting from the front of the structure: "Norm Murray Corner" it read in yellow block letters on a blue background.
Below it sat Murray, preparing to call a Long Island high school boys' lacrosse playoff game. As soon as he started talking I figured out why he had his own corner named after him. His deep baratone voice was piped through the entire stadium, just as it had for decades before I was born. As the longtime public address announcer at Hofstra, he delivered Long Island sports fans the who, what, where and why's of sporting events for more than 50 years.
That sign is indicative of the fixture Murray was. He passed away early Wednesday morning.
The longtime voice of Hofstra lacrosse and Long Island high school lacrosse and football games that were played on the campus, Murray began working at Shuart Stadium in the 1950s, serving as a timekeeper. He started PA announcing in the 1960s and was a mainstay, even this past spring season with declining health.
"Norm Murray will be missed be so many people, as he has touched so many lives with his love of lacrosse locally, but especially here at Hofstra," Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. "Countless number of people know him as the voice of Hofstra Lacrosse, and we are very thankful for all that he has done for our great sport. Our program will miss him deeply."
The public address booth at Shuart Stadium was named after him in 2000. He also worked games at Mitchel Athletic Complex since 1984. He worked his last game when Hofstra played Penn State on April 27.
"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Norm Murray," Hofstra athletics director Jeffrey A. Hathaway said. "Norm was a legend in the lacrosse world and someone who was synonymous with Hofstra Lacrosse. We will all miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are will the Murray family and all those who knew and loved Norm. Those who follow Norm in the Hofstra public address booth will have to fill big shoes left behind by a consummate professional."
Murray was a World War II veteran who joined the Navy and served in the Philippines and in Okinawa, Japan. Following an honorable discharge, he worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1951 to 1975, serving in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York City and Marine Corps Base Quantico.
For 10 years, he worked as a hospital risk manager at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., until 1987. From 1987 to 2009 he supervised the Town of Hempstead's self-insurance system, where he monitored a system he helped start in 1980 under then-Town of Hempstead Supervisor (and future senator) Al D'Amato. Murray's daughter, Kate, is the current supervisor of Hempstead.
Active in the community, Murray served 10 years as president of St. Bernard's parish council was part of the founding group of the Levittown Red Devils youth football program, where he stayed active in supporting the youth league from 1953 to his death. He was elected president of the Levittown Public School Board in 1978.
Murray graduated from Boston College in 1950 with a degree in history and economics and earned a master's degree in history from UMass-Boston.
"Hofstra University was fortunate to have the voice of Long Island football and lacrosse as our announcer," former Hofstra student-athlete, coach and administrator Harry Royle said. "Long Island has been enriched by his community spirit and will always remember him as a great friend. I personally will remember my years of friendship with Norm and send my condolences to his family."
A wake for Murray will be held Friday, June 28, at Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home in Wantagh, N.Y., from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral mass will take place Saturday, June 29 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church in Levittown, N.Y.
Just from being around Murray and hearing some of his stories while in the same press box during my time as newbie high school reporter for Newsday, I felt as if I were in the presence of history and a true fixture of the game. For the thousands of players who took the field at Hofstra under his watch, and heard their name called after a goal, save, tackle or touchdown, Murray's booming voice is one they will never forget.