Murray Lynch remembered as a ‘giant in the pantheon of Father Ryan’

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John Murray Lynch Jr. age 84, a longtime commanding presence at Father Ryan High School, died April 21, 2020. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his family postponed services until the one-year anniversary of his death, and a Celebration of Life for Mr. Lynch is now scheduled for April 24, 2021. The service will be held at St. Henry Church at 11 a.m. with visitation preceding from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.


St. Henry is located at 6401 Harding Pike Nashville, TN 37205.

A link to view a live stream of the service will be available at:

Murray Lynch was educated in the Diocese of Nashville’s Catholic schools, and graduated from Holy Name School in East Nashville, then Father Ryan High School. There he was the captain of the basketball team and excelled in baseball and football. He was a member of the first integrated graduating class at Father Ryan, the Class of 1955.

After college, he returned to Father Ryan to teach and coach at the school for his entire career.

“His love for the school was deep, his concern for the students was genuine, and his Irish spirit was on display throughout his life,” said Father Ryan President Jim McIntyre, who knew Mr. Lynch since 2004. With his passing, “we have lost another giant in the Father Ryan pantheon,” McIntyre added.

Father Ryan Principal Paul Davis, (FRHS Class of 1981) said he was grateful to Mr. Lynch for his guidance and support when he took on his current role. “He was consistent in checking on me each time he was on campus. For that I am grateful,” said Davis. “His love for our alma mater was unwavering.”

Mr. Lynch’s family recalls that “the most important decision Murray made in his life was to ask the future love of his life, Rosalyne McCabe, on a date in 1954. Murray and Sissy dated all through high school and college and were married on June 6, 1959. They celebrated 61 years of marriage this past June.” 

Mr. Lynch earned a basketball scholarship to St. Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama, and graduated in 1959. He also played varsity tennis at St. Bernard and was named captain of both basketball and tennis teams. He continued his studies at Peabody College in Nashville where he earned his master’s degree.

In the summer of 1960, Mr. Lynch began working at Father Ryan where he was the assistant football and basketball coach and taught economics. Taking over the head basketball coaching duties in 1968, he led the Irish to the State Final Four in 1974 before stepping down in 1976. He continued coaching football through the 1985 season. 

In 1969 Mr. Lynch, known to many on the Father Ryan campus as “Coach Lynch,” took over as the Assistant Principal and Disciplinary Dean.  He continued in this position until his retirement in 1998. 

Mr. Lynch was inducted into the second class of the Father Ryan Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020.

“From the time he stepped on to the Father Ryan campus in 1951 as a student, Murray Lynch knew he found his home. … He was a three-year starter on the football, basketball, and baseball teams,” according to his Hall of Fame profile.

He was a teacher and coach at an historic time in the school’s and nation’s history, his Hall of Fame profile said. Mr. Lynch was part of the first integrated class at Father Ryan and served as assistant basketball coach to Hall of Famer Bill Derrick, class of 1948, as the school led the way in integrating sports.

“He coached football and basketball, taking over the head basketball coaching reins in 1969 and leading the Irish to multiple district and region titles,” the profile included. “He ultimately became Dean of Students and served as a mentor and a guide to fellow teachers and students for decades to come.”

In his retirement, Mr. Lynch loved doing anything at the lake where he lived, especially boating, tubing grandkids, sunset tours, and fishing, his family recalled. He was also known as a handyman and able to fix anything, as long as he had duct tape and wire. He is also remembered for his storytelling abilities. “Murray loved life, family, and friends. He will be missed, but his stories will live on,” his family said.

Mr. Lynch was preceded in death by his father John Murray Sr., mother Margueritte, and brother James Nicholas “Nicky”. 

Survivors include his wife Rosalyne “Sissy” McCabe Lynch; sons John Murray (Brenda), Michael (Erin), Thomas (Lindsey); daughter Janice; sister Carol Moss (Perry); nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and eight nieces and nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the Father Ryan Tuition Assistance Fund and mailed to Father Ryan High School, 700 Norwood Dr. Nashville, TN 37204. 

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