James Murphy "Murph" Tinsley

June 12, 1957 ~ November 9, 2019 (age 62)


James Murphy “Murph” Tinsley, 62, of Morgantown, died Saturday in a room overlooking Mountaineer Field, where he helped televise all but two home games in thirty-six consecutive seasons of West Virginia University football. 

A well-known character in the university community and beyond, the Saint Albans native was a beloved friend, a true mentor, and occasional good-natured thorn in the side to many. A walking encyclopedia of WVU and broadcasting history, Murph’s remarkable intelligence and rapier wit made an indelible impression on everyone he met.

Those who knew Murph best knew he had a heart of gold and blue. His fondness for his home state and WVU was surpassed only by his love for the generations of student athletes, students, and colleagues he helped grow and develop, both as humans and professionals. Anyone who encountered Murph was ultimately his pupil, whether you worked alongside him at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, WVU University Relations, or on a sports production crew. He not only knew his job but everyone’s job; his knowledge of his craft was unsurpassed, as was his willingness to help all who wished to learn it.

Murph was a staunch supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and public broadcasting, and he served as a member of the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting board at the time of his death. He was a proud alumnus of WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, now the Reed College of Media.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary “Addi” Adelene (Dodson) Tinsley, and his father, Augustus Gordon Tinsley. He is survived by his brother, Joe “E.I.” Tinsley, of Orlando, Florida. Murph is also survived by the countless brothers and sons he met through his work with WVU Athletics. 

Friends are invited to an informal, tailgate-style celebration of Murph’s life at 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 17th, in the Gold ballroom of the WVU Mountainlair. Gold and blue attire is encouraged.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to West Virginia Public Broadcasting at 600 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV, 25301.

Professional services are being provided to the family with the guidance of Smith Funeral & Cremation Care of Westover / Morgantown.

Condolences for the family may be offered at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Murphy "Murph" Tinsley, please visit our floral store.


Gathering of Family and Friends
November 17, 2019

5:00 PM
WVU Mountainlair Gold Ballroom
University Ave.
Morgantown, WV 26505


West Virginia Public Broadcasting
600 Capitol St., Charleston WV 25301

© 2020 Smith Funeral & Cremation Care. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS