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Harvard Football Coach Tim Murphy Retires, Winningest Coach in Ivy League History

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Updated January 17, 2024, at 1:28 p.m.

Harvard football head coach Tim Murphy announced his retirement on Wednesday after 30 seasons at the helm of the Crimson football program.

His retirement comes off the heels of a final season in which he led Harvard to a stellar 8-2 record and a share of the Ivy League title. He ended his career with 200 wins, and, with a 17-9 victory over Dartmouth on Oct. 28, surpassed Yale’s Carm Cozza to set the record for Ivy League coaching wins. During his tenure, Harvard won 10 Ivy League titles and defeated the archival Yale Bulldogs 19 times, including nine straight from 2007-2015.

He also led the Crimson to three undefeated seasons — in 2001, 2004, and 2014 — leading Harvard to amass the sixth-best winning percentage in all of Division I football since 2000. Throughout his career, he won the New England Coach of the Year award eight times and was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award — awarded to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) — on five occasions.

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Before coming to Cambridge in 1994, Murphy previously led the football programs at the University of Maine, where he coached with his lifelong friend, the late Eugene F. “Buddy” Teevens III, and the University of Cincinnati. Over the course of his career as a head coach, Murphy won 232 games.

“It has been an incredible honor to be the football coach at Harvard, and I am forever grateful to have been blessed to work with so many amazing people starting with the 1,000 student-athletes and 80-plus assistant coaches during our tenure here,” Murphy said in a statement released by the University.

He leaves a deep legacy at Harvard as arguably the greatest coach in program history, and he was lauded by players and coaches for his leadership qualities. In the wake of his retirement, several current and former players reacted quickly by posting tributes on social media.

“Greatest to ever do it,” wrote senior tight end Tyler Neville in an Instagram story.

Senior defensive tackle Thor Griffith also paid tribute to Murphy on Instagram, with a post that quoted one of Murphy’s most famous sayings: “‘With the guys in this room, we can beat anyone we play!’”

Now, for the first time in 30 years, Harvard will begin a search for new football head coach.

—Staff writer Aaron B. Shuchman can be reached at aaron.shuchman@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Griffin Wong can be reached at griffin.wong@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @Wong_THC.

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