Coach Berkley Murphy, Jr., affectionately known as “Snook,” was born on January 17, 1928, in Lugoff, South Carolina, to the late Berkley Murphy, Sr., and Marie Martin Murphy. He received his education in the Kershaw County school district. During his middle school years, he excelled in math, and as a result, he was skipped from the 6th to the 8th grade. After graduating from the 8th grade, Coach Murphy attended Jackson High School in Camden, South Carolina. Upon graduating from Jackson High School, he attended Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina. He would often talk about his love for Allen University and his life as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. If he had to choose between his home and Allen University, Allen University would become his home of choice. While attending Allen University, he was drafted into the United States Army for the Korean War. However, he was able to return to Allen University to complete his studies. Coach Murphy graduated in 1955, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physical Education. In 2009, Murphy was inducted into Allen University’s Hall of Fame for his contribution to baseball and football. He also received a Mayoral Citation from Mayor Robert “Bob” Coble.
He continued to develop a love for baseball. His middle school and high school years served as a foundation for developing his craft as a pitcher as he would often travel with the “Older” Negro League players, listening for strike out tips. Coach Murphy suffered an injury to his right index finger. As a result of this injury, he was able to grip the baseball in such a way that the pitching speed of the baseball clocked in between 80 mph to 90 mph. He was throwing so fast until his godfather, “Daddy Mack” McLester, had to put a piece of steak inside his baseball glove to keep his hand from hurting and bruising. The day came when the baseball scout from the Pittsburgh Pirates visited Allen University to recruit baseball players. The baseball players met at Riley Park in Sumter, South Carolina. The scout took one good look at Coach Murphy, told him that he needed to make a phone call, went across the street, and never came back. This devastated Coach Murphy, but he did not let this event stop his vision of one day becoming a major league baseball player. He continued pursuing his vision until one day he was asked to train with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He trained with the Los Angeles Dodgers until he injured his right hand. Coach Murphy returned to South Carolina where he joined his former Negro League Baseball buddies. He played for the following teams: Ashville Blues (NC), Camden Greys (SC), and the Lugoff Sluggers (SC).
After graduating from Allen University, he moved to Barnwell, South Carolina, and became a physical education teacher at Barnwell High School. While at Barnwell High School, he taught physical education and coached Girls/Boys basketball and varsity football. He was responsible for
the Boys Varsity Football team winning two state championship games.
After bowing out of baseball, Coach Murphy relocated to New York. He became a teacher and worked in the penal system. He would later join the NAACP and become known as “Mr. President” of the Middletown Chapter. He took a chapter of ten members and turned it into a chapter of 350 members during his presidency. President Murphy fought many issues such as the mismanagement of the human rights commission, job discrimination, poor conditions of low-income housing, and racism. One of the highlights of his presidency came because he fought the powers that be in getting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day established in Orange County. The other highlight of his career came when he had the honor of having a conversation with the late, great Jackie Robinson.
Coach Murphy relocated to Bishopville, SC, in the early 2000s where he coached Jr. Varsity and Varsity football at Lee Central High School. While attending a PTA meeting at one of the local middle schools, he was introduced to his “Bobbie.” They were married in August of 2008.
In his latter days, Coach Murphy never allowed sickness to overtake him. He was always in the bank, church, department stores, on the streets, and in restaurants recruiting for Allen University and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He leaves to love and cherish his memory: his devoted wife of 14 years, Barbara Marie “Bobbie” Murphy of Columbia, SC; father-in-law, Leroy (Eloise) Johnson of Bishopville, SC; four daughters, Linnea Cain of Columbia, SC, Chauntey (Christopher) James of Jonesboro, GA, Brittany (Erick) Ramos of Charleston, SC, and Chauntelle Brantley of Columbia, SC; son, Timothy Brantley of Newark, NJ; three granddaughters, Cherish and Chasity Brantley James of Jonesboro, GA, and Ella Katheryn Brantley-James of Columbia, SC; three sisters-in-law, Sheila Benjamin of Sumter, SC, Reverend Dr. Alice Green of Columbia, SC, and Bishop Perzaver P. Amour of Townsend, MD; three brothers-in-law, Darren (Selena) Benjamin of Jersey City, NJ, Reverend Lester Green of Columbia,
SC, and Harrison Murphy of Washington, D. C.; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other family and friends. Coach Berkley “Snook” Murphy, Jr., was preceded in death by his parents, Berkley Murphy, Sr., and Marie Martin Murphy; and siblings, Ben, Spencer, Josephine (Sister), Jack, and Marie (Rabbit).
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