"John was one of the best all-around players I ever saw. He could do it all," said Murphy. "An outstanding passer, he also was a strong runner, great punter, blocker and fine defensive back. On the baseball field, he was a good outfielder and a fine left-handed hitter." After graduation he coached for three years at Lawrenceburg High School, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
In the early spring of 1975, a pair of long-time supporters of Middle Tennessee State University's athletic program decided that the University should honor its greatest athletes. Homer Pittard, alumni director, and Gene Sloan, public relations director, came up with the idea and asked sports information director Jim Freeman to join them in setting up an athletic hall of fame.
After getting approval for the Hall of Fame from President M. G. Scarlett, the trio began laying the groundwork to select the first inductees. Others, including Bob Womack and Joe Nunley, were also involved.
"We decided not to have categories but to put all candidates in one group," said Freeman. "We also decided against inducting a large group to start with and felt that three per year was the ideal number. That way, everyone got a good share of the spotlight."
The nominating and voting for the first several years was done by members of the old "T" Club, now reorganized and called the Varsity Club. Nominations were solicited, and the the list of candidates was mailed to the voters. They selected Horace Jones, Charles "Bubber" Murphy and Teddy Morris as the initial inductees in 1976.
The Blue Raider Hall of Fame was originally housed in the old Blue Raider Room under the west side of the football stadium. It had to be torn down when then stadium was expanded in 1998. After several years without a home, the Hall of Fame moved into the new Rose and Emmett Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building in 2004.