Racer nation takes a pause Friday to remember a legend. Bennie Purcell passed away Friday at the age of 86. The hall of famer was the first of Murray State’s 1,000 point club and coached the men’s team to 10 straight OVC tennis championships.
Often called Mr. MSU, Purcell was at Thursday night’s game against SIU Edwardsville.
It hangs here as a reminder of a man who dedicated most of his life to the Murray State Racers. Murray State athletic director Allen Ward, says people call him a legend, but he looks at him as one of a kind. “To have him leave us after the Racer's got an important road win, I think is symbolic to what he means to us,” Ward added.
Purcell fills up lots of space in the hall of fame. From basketball to tennis, from player to coach, he definitely made a mark on the university. “When people think about Murray State, they think about Bennie,” Ward told us.
When he wasn’t spending his time supporting Murray State athletics, he was here enjoying catching up with friends. Marty Futrell drove Purcell home Thursday night after the game. He says Racer athletics is what Purcell lived for and last night was no different.
“I don't know if it's true yet. It seems like it's not real when you just see somebody a matter of hours earlier,” Futrell said.
Ward says Purcell’s son, current tennis coach Mel Purcell, presented him with one of his father’s last acts: a check written to Murray’s scholarship fund.