Mr. Nash was lover of family and Southern
October 15, 2012
My friend Murphy Nash Jr. died this week and I’m sad about that. Even though he was 80 years old, he and I were “road dogs,” traveling to Southern University football games. I will miss him dearly.
“Ed, you know, there’s nothing like a victory.” I don’t know how many times over the years I heard my friend say that as we were leaving a far away stadium after a win by Southern’s football team. Mr. Nash hung on every snap, kick, pass, fumble and touchdown by the Jaguars.
When things went wrong for Southern, he sometimes said things that could not be repeated in church. I kinda liked it.
My wife, Mr. Nash, his daughter Jackie and her son little Trey (Murphy Nash, III), traveled through airports, rode in cars and sometimes took buses to Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee and Alabama to see the Jaguars play. Cold, ran, sleet, searing heat — it didn’t matter. As, I said, we were road dogs.
When I met him about 20 years ago, I knew a little about his history as a SU grad – he graduated from Southern the same year I was born — and that he was a mover and shaker in grade school education in Caddo Parish. I soon met his wife, a splendid woman who was also a great cook. So going to their home was well worth the trip.
A few years ago, he and his wife, Idella, rounded up a bunch of gray soldiers in Caddo Parish to support Kathleen Blanco in her successful campaign for governor. Blanco later appointed him to the Southern University Board of Supervisors. This was a crowning achievement for him because he loved the university so much. He believed that being a board member would provide him a chance to make a difference.
But, my relationship with Mr. Nash was, for the most part, about Jaguar football. No one pulled harder and with more intensity than he did.
At one game, he arrived unshaven, appearing to have dined on barbed wire. His face was sunken and covered with gray whiskers. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that he forgotten his dentures. “Looks like you have your game face on,” I said with a smirk. He smiled, bearing full gums. I couldn’t stop laughing.
As time went on, the Jaguars were not his only passion. Our youngest road dog, Trey, has grown up and is now one of the best high school punters in Louisiana. Mr. Nash would truck down from Shreveport to see his namesake punt for Southern Lab.
The last couple seasons haven’t been good for Mr. Nash or Southern. As the Jaguars started to lose with frequency, Mr. Nash began slowing down. His health stopped him from going on trips, leaving him to listen to more games on his computer or radio.
I got a call Wednesday that he had died. He was a mentor and fun guy to be around. I will miss his smile — with teeth and without.
Jackie and Mr. Nash’s other daughter, Belinda, his granddaughter Ashley and the rest of the family should feel some joy in that the last Jaguar football game he watched, via television, was Southern University beating Florida A&M University 21-14.
“Ed, you know, there’s nothing like victory.”
Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is email@example.com.