When Orange Coast College hired Tom Murphine in 1985 as a journalism professor, I winced.
He'll scare students away!
I'd seen "Murph" at work in the Daily Pilot newsroom. With rolled up sleeves, a no-nonsense demeanor and smoldering pipe jutting from his jaw, he could be intimidating — not unlike Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post.
He was the Pilot's superb managing editor for years. He was respected, admired and feared by reporters. I saw him on several occasions toss a sheet of copy back at a reporter and demand a rewrite.
"You're better than that," he'd say.
An Orange County native, Murph was the first baby born in the original San Clemente Hospital in 1929. His grandfather was San Clemente's first mayor, from 1928 to 1934.
Murph, a Laguna Beach High School and San Jose State graduate, served in the U.S. Air Force. He worked with the Pilot for two decades, joining the staff in the 1960s. During his tenure he mentored scores of reporters, editors and photographers. To a person, they were grateful for the experience.