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Enshrined : 2014 (Posthumous)
New Haven Football Officials
Until his untimely death in 1987 at age 66, few officials had the respect of New Haven-area coaches like Joseph Murray. Affable with a constant smile on his face, Murray was an official who not only knew the rules and mechanics, but had an uncanny ability to know when to impose himself and when to let "the kids play."
As a member of the New Haven Football Officials Association, Murray worked on the wing or in his more familiar referee position, and was seen at many top games during his career.
A graduate of Hillhouse High School, where he played football and baseball, he continued to play during his stint with the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. Upon his discharge, he continued to play sandlot football during the heyday of club sports, wearing the uniform of the Lenox Club.
When he ended his playing days, he did what many do, and began to officiate. Not only was he a member of the NHFOA, but also a high respected and sought-after official for IABBO Board 10, and was an umpire for the Greater New Haven Baseball Umpires Association, where he was known as a top ball-strike man.
He was a member of the New England College Officials Association, and worked many small college games for the legendary Sumner Dole.
He was assigned the very first championship game in 1976, wearing the white hat for the St. Paul's –Hand contest.
He mentored many officials, and could always be counted upon to give sage advice to anyone who asked. Steve Narracci himself a Hall of Famer and the current NHFOA Commission stated, "Joe was my mentor when I started football officiating and he was a fabulous teacher, a great guy and an excellent rules man."
Vincent J. Reilly had a very special respect for Murray, saying Murray was "without a doubt one of the best officials" on his staff.
Employed for 23 year with the New Haven Dept. of Parks and Recreation, he used his organizational skills as a supervisor.