Fred “Fritz” Murdock
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
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Little Kulpmont High School has produced many outstanding football players over the years, so it is not surprising that another takes his place in the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Fred was one of those hard-nosed, tough, do anything type of player so prevalent at the time. Fred was a four-year letter winner with the Wildcats at four different positions. He began as a defensive guard for Coach Bob Magalski during the 1948 season and would move to center in 1949. He took over the starting offensive guard position with the ‘50 Wildcats, a team that would go 8-2 with one of its losses to the great George Welsh Coaldale team by a 26-13 score.
In a complete surprise, Magalski would leave Kulpmont for Larksville, leaving the team to Ed Stavinski and Bob Balant and assistants Joe Diminick and Joe Pezelski. Murdock would move to fullback in a backfield that included Sugar Lashendock and Harry Malock. “Fritz” ran for 175 yards against the Black Diamonds of Ashland, helping the team to an undefeated season. Only a canceled game with Tamaqua (and a loss of points for Kulpmont) would keep the Wildcats from the Eastern Conference Crown and a trip to the State Championship game.
After graduating from Kulpmont in 1952, Fred would take his talents to Mansfield University where he started as a defensive guard and fullback as a freshman. Fred left to join the Navy as a flight crew member in a Neptune bomber squadron that patrolled the shore lines of Japan during the Korean conflict. Fred would continue playing and coaching football and baseball during his service career.
Fred was eventually assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk, and aircraft carrier patrolling the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea and did so for 6 years. He then left for Antarctica on the South Pole and is believed to have organized the first football ever in the Southern Hemisphere. They lined the ice with oil from their vehicles and played until the football burst from the frigid weather.
Fred died a few years back but will always be recognized as one of those greats from little Kulpmont High School.