Harvard's football program will receive a $2.5 million boost from lot mer player and coach Thomas Stephenson '64.
Harvard football coach Tim Murphy will be the first Thomas Stephen son Family Coach of Harvard football, a position endowed by $2 million of Stephenson's gift, according to an article in yesterday's Gazette.
The remaining $500,000 will be used to support other aspects of the football program.
"We're absolutely thrilled and pleased by the Stephenson gift," Murphy said yesterday. "This is the best way to guarantee the future of the program and set the foundation for the next century."
Stephenson would not comment on the gift yesterday.
The new football coach, who took a substantial pay cut when he came to Harvard from the University of Cincinnati, will be the chief beneficiary of the endowment, along with the football program in general.
Murphy was hired after former Coach Joe Restic stepped down following a lackluster 1993 football season, when the team's record was 2-7-1.
Harvard's first endowment of the coaching position follows the lead of such schools as Princeton, Stanford and Yale, Murphy said.
Director of Athletics William J. Cleary Jr. '56 said yesterday that the establishment of a permanent fund to support the coaching position is a milestone for the athletic department.
"This is the first time we have been able to publicly announce the endowment of a coaching position here at Harvard," Cleary told the Gazette.
Cleary could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Murphy's record bears witness to his ability to serve as Harvard's first endowed coach. On the Division I level, Murphy led the Bearcats of Cincinnati to their best season in 17 years in 1993 and directed the University of Maine to their first-ever NCAA Division I-AA playoff berth in 1987.
Stephenson is also an accomplished football player and coach who garnered all-Ivy and all-New England accolades as an offensive end during his senior season at Harvard.
He continued to work on the Harvard football program after graduation and served four seasons as a varsity assistant coach to Coach John Yovicsin while attending Harvard Business School and Boston College Law School, according to the Gazette.
The football program will not be the only sport benefitting from the endowment.
Harvard maintains an extensive athletic program with 1,400 undergraduates participating in 41 sports, more than any other Division I school in the country, Jeremy R. Knowles, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, told the Gazette.
But Harvard's successful program "has become increasingly expensive to maintain," Knowles said.
Murphy agreed with Knowles' depiction of a progressively more frugal athletic department, adding that this situation is not unique to Harvard.
"Money is increasingly becoming a premium in athletics," he said. "Colleges are dropping sports left and right."
Murphy said he sees the endowment as a sign of possible future endowments in the department.
"[It is quite] conceivably the first step towards endowing other sports' coaching positions," he said.
If the coaching endowment works as other gifts do, the principle portion will be invested and some interest from this capital will be paid out to support the position for years to come, according to Assistant Sports Information Director Michael A. Jackman.
The Stephenson family has been active among Harvard alumni for four generations.
Stephenson himself is a former director and vice president of the Harvard Alumni Association and a former director of the Harvard Club of San Francisco, according to the Gazette report.
"And I have never been sorry, for I get more out of working for Harvard than I put in," Stephenson told the Gazette.
Stephenson, who is currently in own for a 30th anniversary reunion, is a resident of Atherton, California and a partner in the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
"Now seemed the perfect time to help Harvard's athletic program to achieve the self-sufficiency that only endowment can provide," Stephenson told the Gazette