RIP Vada Murray Comment Count

Brian April 7th, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I'm a bit too young to have anything personal to say about Vada Murray. I don't remember him playing, as anything other than a guy with cancer.

It's one of the great things about the internet, though, that the collective can make up for any one individual's shortcomings. Wolverine Historian put together a Murray highlight reel that lets you see what Jamiemac wrote about a couple years ago in HTTV—Murray and Tripp Welborne blocking everything in sight—amongst other things:

RIP. Also if you would talk to God about lightening up on the safeties now that would be good.



April 7th, 2011 at 12:57 PM ^

I remember Murrary and Welbourne could jump so high and were so good on blocking kicks, it got to be that you expected them to do it every time an opponent lined up for a field goal.  Good times.

Murrary and Welbourne were also legends on the IM basketball circuit in their time at Michigan.  Should come as no surprise given their major ups.


April 7th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

They had a team with Murray, Welborne, Derek Alexander and a couple of the TE's and lineman and would just put on a dunk fest spectacle that was fun to watch.  As a referee, I was pretty much useless for their games because I essentially was a spectator.  

R.I.P Vada


April 7th, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

did he do any high jumping on track and field? Those FG blocks were quite the sight, along with the surge the DL got off the snap. I like the combo of pushing back the FG team 3 yards back followed by a guy that looks like he can dunk on a 14ft rim. 

Give Bo a hug for us Vada



April 7th, 2011 at 1:03 PM ^

When I was a student ('95-'99), Vada was often assigned to the stadium gates as an AA cop on game days.   Cool name. Great defender.  RIP, big fella. 


April 7th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

I recall VIVIDLY that blocked PAT by Vada against UCLA, at the Rose Bowl (not in the Rose Bowl, but a Sept. game at the Rose Bowl).

I was in my 2d year in law school at a school in northern california, and one of my buddies there had gone to UCLA as an undergrad.  When we saw UM was at UCLA, we got tix and road tripped it down.  Six hour ride right to the game; saw the game; drove back home.

UCLA had just scored in the 4th quarter to make it a 16 pt. lead, and the block kept it at 16.  I said to my friend, that's key, it's still 2 scores.  He and the rest of the UCLA guys around us blew me off like, whatever dude.  Then UM scored, and got a 2 pointer, so we were down 8.  We got the ball back, and scored with under a minute (or something like that).  Went for 2 to tie... and missed.  Had to kick the onside kick... and recovered it.  Drove a little ways, went for the field goal with no time remaining... and scored, to win by 1 at the gun.

So, Vada basically saved the game for us.

The ONE thing I remember most about that game?  THE UCLA COEDS IN BIKINIS IN THE STANDS.  I hadn't seen anything like that... undergrads in bikinis at the game... I mean, the girls don't roll that way in the Big 10.  My buddy was like, yup, welcome to LA.  And, these were UCLA undergrads, so... the bikinis looked GOOD on them.  Realll goooood.  I think there was a football game there too, but I'm not sure I paid attention.


Cock D

April 7th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

The blocked kicks are what everyone remembers, but he and Tripp Welborne were a fantastic duo to have in a defensive secondary.  Solid in coverage and great in run support.  Vada could really bring the lumber; had a scary moment in the 89 OSU game where he was down on the field for 5-10 minutes (think it wound up being a pinched nerve) after completely wrecking an OSU ballcarrier.

He'll be missed, but always well remembered.


April 7th, 2011 at 9:59 PM ^


I've been trying to remember what game that was.  I was only 11 at the time, but I'll never forget how odd it was to see so many people so quiet.  One of my clearest memories of watching UofM games as a kid -- that and, of course, watching Vada and Tripp jumping over the line to block kicks, so he's actually a part of two of them.

RIP Vada.

New Kid On The Blog

April 7th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

I'm 45 so of course I do remember Murry. He's one of the many great Wolverines out of Ohio that Bo used to get on a regular basis. I wish his family the best in this difficult time. Go Blue!


April 7th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

You always hear people say that players are more athletic today than they were back in the day but I haven't seen a safety with mad ups like that in a while. Those blocks were something else. 


April 7th, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Here, I'll speak of the football player. I know it's hard for some to think what it must have been like, but he and Tripp weren't just a special team novelty, but a fearsome pairing at safety. Back before our cornerbacks were All-Pros, it was the safeties that led the secondary. Vada's athleticism combined with Tripp's speed and power, if either one of them wasn't the best safety we've ever had, certainly as a tandem they were our best. You really couldn't have one without the other. Except now, we have to....


April 7th, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

I have many fond memories of watching Vada Murray, back when Michigan's defense was outstanding year after year.

My condolences to his family; losing a father and husband in the prime of life is always tragic.



April 7th, 2011 at 2:52 PM ^

I have many memories of watching Vada as I was in middle school when he played and was just really starting to pay attention to UM football beyond the family allegiance that originally brought me to it. A lot of players from those years were heroes of mine, but Vada was always one of my favorites.  He played hard, smart and fast.  You could just tell that Bo loved him (and Tripp) and that they embodied his coaching style. 

The news of his passing made me think back to all those cool fall Saturdays as a kid rooting for the maize and blue.  In a small way, having been a part of so many good memories and all the nostalgia that comes with it, was Vada's gift to me.  God Bless his family as they struggle through this time.

The FannMan

April 7th, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

Thanks for perfecting saying what I am thinking (except I was in high school when Vada played). 

Opposition field goals and PATs were excitnig b/c of Vada and Tripp.   Vada also served the Ann Arbor community as a police officer. 

This is just really, really sad and unfair.  I  know there is a no politics/no religion rule around this board, but folks, if you are so inclined, please remember Vada and his friends and family in your prayers.


April 7th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

I remember when he came to Bacon's class last year before the OSU game.  He was intense as hell.  Lots of f bombs.  I was about ready to put on a helmet and hit somebody.


April 7th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

I sometimes wonder how some of our past players would have been rated coming out of high school if Rivals/Scout were around back then. Well, Vada was without question a five star...although he was obviously much more than that to the university and Ann Arbor community.

See 1985:

Here's hoping we can snag a safety of his caliber in this year's class. RIP.


April 7th, 2011 at 6:56 PM ^

... seeing him on campus every now and then in (officer) uniform and telling my friends (east coast transplants), "that's Vada Murray!"  They were like, "who?"  I wanted to introduce them to one of the best players I remembered from my youth, but I didn't for some reason.  I think it was because I was running the naked mile.


April 7th, 2011 at 7:13 PM ^

of Michigan football was Vada and Tripp jumping what seemed to be 20 feet in the air to block fieldgoals in the late 80s and thinking two things:  Michigan players can do things that are physically impossible for other teams' players to do, and some Moms must love their kids more than mine loves me because those names are AWESOME.


Thank you for being a part of my childhood, Mr. Murray.


April 7th, 2011 at 8:44 PM ^

My condolences to the Murray Family in their time of sorrow. I remember Him and Tripp Wellborne flattening receivers who tried to run deep routes over the middle after one or two times their arms shortened up about 6 inches or so.


April 7th, 2011 at 10:07 PM ^

I was saddened to hear about Murray's death.  I had read about him here in recent weeks and I feel terrible for his family.  However, I have to admit that I didn't remember his name from his playing days.  I see why now -- it was during my California hiatus, post college and law school, but before moving back to the midwest.  I was a huge Michigan fan always, but back then there was no internet, let alone MGoBlog, to obsess over the details.  Yes, I was in one of those clans then.

However, I now realize how much I remember one of Vada's key plays.  I was at the UCLA game in 1989 (which shows up in the video), which was played in the Rose Bowl but not during the Rose Bowl game -- just a regular season road game in September.  (How many times did Michigan play a regular season game in the Rose Bowl?  Now that I think of it, I can't remember another example.)

It was a great game during Bo's final season.  We fell behind, came back, and when the chips were down the football gods were on our side.  I vaguely remember the blocked extra point (or was it a field goal?).  But, my god, the onside kick was incredible.  The ball bounced perfectly over UCLA's front line and Murray swept around and grabbed it.  I remember reading in the paper the next day (back then, we got our news on newsprint) that during a brief time out immediately following the play, Bo excitedly told the team that "We're Going to Win!!"  For a stadium that gave Bo and all of us so much heartache, it was a shining moment and Bo got to be a little kid.

RIP Vada Murray

Unfortunately, several months later, when I was back in the same stadium for Bo's last game, we all had to endure another loss to the bastards from USC.   That memory is outweighed, however, by the magic game in September when it all went our way.  Thanks to Vada for his role in it.


April 7th, 2011 at 10:09 PM ^

Thanks to Brian for recognizing and WH for the video... memories of Vada, the '89 team and my frosh year at UM.  For a minute, I was back in the Taylor House lounge watching that UCLA game on TV.  What great memories of a great chapter of life and a great era for UM.

RIP Vada - may God's blessings be on your surviving family.