Veteran sportswriter Roger Murray retires after 47 years of service in print journalism. Surely he’ll be missed.

I had the pleasure of working with Roger Murray for two years in my tenure as preps editor, but Roger made an impact on me long ago. Nine years ago, to be exact, Murray walked into the Tribune office and said hello to a then-17 year old cub reporter. I was star-struck when I saw him stroll into the sports department, former Star-News prep editor Keven Chavez also having that impact on me. I thought to myself, “How cool that he would be nice to me.” I always wondered what it would be like to meet the people you grew up reading like Chavez, T.J. Simers, Shav Glick, Mike Downey, Bill Plaschke and, of course, Roger Murray (did you know he rubbed elbows with the late Shav Glick and was good friends with the legendary Jim Murray?). Always kind and courteous, Roger offered a wealth of experience and advice to aspiring writers anytime possible. He’ll truly be missed, and I’m sure a lot of coaches feel the same way. Longtime Monrovia baseball coach Brad Blackmore used to play for Roger, and I believe he also covered Randy Bell when he was the Wildcats’ quarterback. Roger would always say being a sportswriter beats working for a living, and he’s right about that. We’re some lucky guys, and even luckier to have worked alongside a living legend.

Managing editor Steve Hunt, once the longtime prep editor and sports editor of the Tribune, talks about his time with Roger Murray

By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer
Over the past 34 years, there have been fewer constants than the steady reporting of veteran journalist Roger Murray. The Whittier Daily News prep sports editor, however, earlier this week decided it was time for a change. (To continue reading, click thread)

Murray tendered his resignation Monday after 13 years of service in Whittier and 34 overall for this newspaper group.
His final day was Tuesday.
“I just think it was time to go,” Murray said. “I’ve enjoyed my job here and the relationships I’ve built with several coaches, players and teams.
“In many ways, I’ve seen several area players grow up and it’s hard not to feel an attachment.”
Santa Fe High School football coach Jack Mahlstede lamented he would miss Murray’s professionalism.
“I appreciated that he never made things up,” Mahlstede said. “Some reporters aren’t sure what happened so they just guess. With Roger, he always made sure his information was accurate.”
Another coach saddened by the news was La Habra’s Frank Mazzotta.
“It’s strange because we started together,” Mazzotta said. “I’ve been here for 12 years and appreciated his diligence and effort to be fair.”
Mazzotta especially looked forward to Murray’s insight, one gained through decades of experience coaching youth sports.
“Roger had a great eye. He would see things about my team that I wouldn’t see,” Mazzotta said. “I guess that comes from experience.”
Murray noted how he enjoyed the growth of the La Habra football team.
“They might be the best program I have ever been around,” Murray said. “I throw them in with the likes of Mater Dei, Concord De La Salle and Long Beach Poly.
“They work just as hard and have a tremendous amount of success.”
Pioneer football coach Ramon Juarez noted success to Murray wasn’t always about numbers.
“Roger was a realist,” Juarez said. “There are people out there that have taken shots at our program.
“Roger never did so. He understood the size of our school and was positive in his comments and was pretty fair.”
What Juarez enjoyed more than the coverage were the simple chats he and Murray had before and after games.
“We’re human beings. Sometimes it’s nice to talk about other things than football,” Juarez said. “He understood that and took the time to ask about my family.”
Murray reminisced about a familiar phrase often uttered to him by former Citrus College coach John Strycula.
“John was never a big fan of numbers,” Murray said. “He always told me that if you hang around long enough in the business, you’ll get them.”
Murray worked for Copley New Service when the company shuttered the doors to its Monrovia office in 1975 and moved to Glendale.
“We had an offset press and they moved everything from Monrovia to Glendale,” Murray said. “They asked me if I wanted to go and I didn’t think it was worth it.”
After about six weeks, Pasadena Star-News executive sports editor Joe Hendrickson offered him a job.
“It was a temporary full-time position where I worked strictly on the desk,” Murray said. “I wasn’t sure how long I would be there.”
Murray had the “temporary” tag taken off on June 16, 1975.
He eventually succeeded Hendrickson as the paper’s executive sports editor and covered several beats from high schools and area colleges to the L.A. Rams, Dodgers and Lakers.
The Monrovia native eventually was transferred to Whittier.
His coverage area in Whittier was half of what it was in Pasadena, but Murray grew to appreciate the community.
“I think this is a wonderful town, one that I would have liked to have moved into,” Murray said. “It’s just neat.”
When asked to single out some of the best moments during his tenure, the usually quick-witted Murray was at a loss for words.
“How can you do that?” he questioned. “There are just so many great moments and so many people that I’ve grown close to that I couldn’t make a list because I know I’d forget someone or something.”
As for his plans, Murray hinted he may be interested in writing a column in the future.
For now, he plans to spend some time between Monrovia and his hometown of Phoenix.
As for his last day, Murray was stoic.
“It’s like I’ve always said,” he concluded. “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. And I’ve enjoyed this run.”

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  • Someone who knows

    Congrats to Roger and his many years of service for the SGV/Whittier areas.

    I just hope Roger does not go back into coaching baseball. šŸ˜‰

  • Martin Henderson

    Roger Murray was a complete professional, never seemed to let ego get in the way, and was a delight share a pressbox with (even though I found him to be a bit reserved). I did not know him well, but I knew him enough to know that reporters such as Roger play an important role in the community; unfortunately, new media may be providing more opportunities for kids to get recognized, but there is something about venerable men like Roger and the late Dave Osterman who symbolized the community sportswriter, go-to guys whose institutional knowledge allowed them to write with insight into the big picture and respect for the game and its participants.

    The best thing about this development, apparently, is that Roger was able to choose his exit. As newspapers contract and the business model continues to struggle, it’s great to see a pro like Roger complete a career intact and on his own terms.

    Congratulations on a terrific career and, as another media professional, well done in filling those scrapbooks. Good luck.

  • seo

    Great Read. I’ll look forward to your next article

  • Manic Hispanic

    Old threads and spam! Is this what the blog has been reduced to?

    What’s next Miguel/PSN, ‘subscriber only’ blogs?

  • goteamgo

    Miguel –

    A couple of things to note:

    1) Please find a way to keep these jokers from posting; going back to two year old threads, etc.

    2) We have asked for All Camino Real League football selections (and why not All Prep League football selections). These are the last two leagues that local schools participate in that have not been listed.

    I have done Google searches for “All Camino Real League Football” and the LA Wave, a local South Bay paper, has noted the Verbum Dei players who are all league; when you listed the PSN football selections, you noted Mike Alexander was Camino Real league MVP.

    This info must be available somewhere, as bits and pieces are being reported.

  • Goldenarm

    Fred has been posting some great stuff at the Trib blog

    contact the La Salle HC, he has got to have details

  • Goldenarm


    Ocat would be interested to know Brandon Golden gave a verbal commit to Washington state

    per Fred, jordan canada (ineligible this season)is checking out fresno state – apparently walker at n.m state is no longer interested

    what the hell happened to Josiah Thropay?

    how will m-town fare with the hellacious pre-league schedule next year?

  • goteamgo

    Good to see Goldenarm back!

    I know I could contact Coach P, but that still would not get the kids the recognition in the paper or blog. The Camino Real and Prep leagues are the only two that did not get recognized in the blog pages.

    While GA is talking football, one interesting new pre-league match up for next season I have heard is La Salle and PHS?

  • New York

    We will be fine, but there is plenty of work to do. Our linebacker corps graduates Lowden and Haggard. You don’t simply replace Seniors like that, but we typically have plenty of guys who can do the job. We need Johnson to bounce back.

    I have a feeling the low points production during key games down the stretch will be addressed. Hopefully we become more aggressive and a bit looser. Call me old fashioned, but I would prefer to see more split back and pro formations. Upland did some nice things out of that during their game against Los Osos. Criss crossing backs and some veer reads could work as well.

    The most important thing is to condition hard right now and reload/build our offensive line. This will be critical. We only go as far as they take us.

    Maddox is doing a great job and we will continue to improve. I love that he beefed up the schedule and even dropped Duarte (no MD Classic this year). But a one sided game is certainly not a classic anyway. It was also very astutue to drop the bye week. It might work for some teams. I’ve never been a fan.

    Glendora will be tough with their returning 6’3 QB and always physical offensive line.

    Arcadia will be prepared and will have more seasoned players and onfield leadership than last year. I love that this rivalry is growing.

    San Dimas…let’s see what type of adjustments each team has made for Round 3.

    South Hills. Frankly I don’t really know much about them. How good are they, really? They play tough teams. They are accustomed to big games. They have a lot of CIF titles, but not since 2005 when the divisions were realigned (it had been Mission Valley, Almont and Golden West). I would love more insight. Do they pass a lot or run a lot? What are they like up front? How deep is their talent pool?

    Paramount has a huge enrollment of either 4,500 or 5700+ depending on sources (yes that is a “5” in front) but they lose. In 2008 they started 4-0 but finished 4-6…grade checks? Some other extranneous factors? Who knows? In 2009 they were 2-0 then 2-8.

  • LSHS


  • Goldenarm

    LSHS and goteamgo

    did not mean to de-emphasize the fact the names do need recognition and deserve posting. I agree 100%.

    PHS/La Salle sounds good – I personally will miss TC playing the Lancers and feel SoElMonte is a step down in our schedule, not up.

    We already face Arroyo, Rosemead, and scrimmage El Monte from the MVL league, why another team from the same grouping? Hernandez has an undisciplined history and this game provides little value in my opinion. Somebody could have done better in finding a match up – St Francis, even RHP, Burbank, Paraclete, CV or Muir, yes Muir. Somebody with some team speed and/or serious line strength. I would gladly take the loss to get the Rams a notch ahead for RHL play.

    New York
    you know my feeling on Maddox….he just keeps rolling up his sleeves. This is more work and that does not frighten him in the least. Very impressive, he has a plan, of that there is no doubt.

  • goteamgo

    GA –

    I too will miss the TC vs La Salle game, but from what I understand La Salle’s league is going from 5 teams to 7 teams (St. Bernard and Bishop Montgomery are being added) so 2 non-league games had to go, which were Monrovia and TC. It was fun for the last four years!

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