The Long Term Players

Bill Murray’s Hall of Fame photo. Class of 2024.

This column is about excellence.

Long-term, nose to the grindstone excellence.

I’ve been thinking about excellence ever since learning that Coach Bill Murray—a Delray Beach legend—was inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.

Coach Murray has been a fixture on the Delray tennis scene since 1972. He came to Delray after playing tennis at Kentucky State University and then serving in Vietnam.

Lucky for Delray, he found a home on the tennis courts of Pompey Park where he continues to teach.

That’s 52 years and three Grand Slam Champions later for those keeping score at home.

Mr. Murray worked with Venus and Serena Williams when they trained at the Rick Macci Academy in Delray. Richard Williams would take his talented daughters to Pompey to soak up some Murray magic.

Later, Corey Gauff was coached by Mr. Murray before leaving town to play Division 1 Basketball. When he came home and started a family, he brought his daughter Coco to Pompey for a few lessons with Bill. You may have heard of Coco; she was just on the cover of Time and Vogue magazines.

I got to know Mr. Murray a little bit over the years. He’s a quiet and unassuming man.

I’ve found that a lot of great people are quiet and unassuming. They let their work speak for them. And often that work gets lost, because they are not self-promoting. They are dedicated to the task at hand.

There are dozens of examples in our community if we stop and think about it.

At a recent City Commission meeting, Shawn Beckowitz and Tommy Osborn were given proclamations upon reaching the 30-year service mark with our Fire Department.

Their list of accolades—read into the record by Mayor Carney—goes on and on. They have had remarkable careers. Shawn has done just about everything there is to do in the fire service. He’s a good man too.

Tommy is a local legend with a national reputation in the fire service for his fitness and athletic achievements. He’s 59 and looks 29. He was recently honored by Delray Medical Center for excellence.

These guys are tough acts to follow.

Higher profile positions and more energetic personalities snag the headlines, but it’s the people who quietly serve with distinction day after day, year after year that make a community tick.

Bill Murray is a prime example.

Over his half century of service, he has enriched not only Delray Beach but the larger tennis world. The announcement of his enshrinement mentioned his work teaching tennis in Kenya and his stewardship of landmark tennis tournaments in South Florida. He also found ways for promising players to come to Florida to train.

Here’s what Mr. Murray had to say upon being elected to the Hall of Fame.

“I am honored to be selected into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame and very appreciative; thank you.

I started my tennis career in Delray Beach, Florida, the same park where I learned how to play tennis in 1961, our class walked over from school to participate in tennis and swimming classes.

The Black community petitioned the city to build two tennis courts and a pool in the Black community, in this famous park in 1956.

The name of this famous park is Pompey Park. One month after graduating from Kentucky State, in 1970, I was in the army, then Vietnam, after my two years, they offered me $25,000 to reenlist, I turned that offer down.

I was so anxious to go home, to get back into tennis, signing all these papers, which was taking so long, until I accidentally signed myself back into the army, for a year, the reserves, which became the main army, I ended up staying in the reserve for a long time. I started an intercity tennis program in 1972 at the same park where I learned to play tennis, Pompey Park.

Those courts were abandoned for 10 years, so I had to be the one to shape it back up, by sweeping the glass and rocks off the court. I went to my Black city commissioner, told him what I was trying to do, so he had both the courts redone. Fifty-two years later and the rest was history. Venus and Serena came to Pompey Park when they were 9 and 10, Corey Gauff came to Pompey Park when he played at 10, he brought his daughter Coco there when she was 4. I put her in her first ATA tournament when she was 7, she won the 10’S.”

She won that and a whole lot more.

Bill Murray is a local legend. The genuine article. We celebrate his many, many contributions.


Another local legend, Marie Speed, officially retired from her post as group editor-in-chief at JES Publishing.

JES publishes Boca and Delray Beach magazines, outstanding publications that are must reads for those of us who love Boca and Delray.

Marie and I have been friends for a long time. She was good enough to give me some freelance work a few times over the years and I can say from personal experience that she is a superior editor.

Great editors make copy sing and bring out the best in their writers. Marie has done that—for a very long time in a business that is brutal. Between deadlines, fact-checking, a difficult business model and temperamental talent—editing a magazine is not easy. It may seem glamorous—and there are glamorous aspects for sure—but most of the work is painstaking and detailed.

Marie Speed is an editor’s editor.

What makes her special is her passion and knowledge of this community. She is not someone passing through—she has roots here and roots give you perspective, context and depth. When you apply those attributes to a magazine your readers are getting a gift; a rare gift in a field in which so many come and go without leaving a mark.

Marie Speed built a legacy, issue by issue, month by month, page by page, word by word. She will be dearly missed.


Continuing with our theme of sustained excellence, consider the amazing example set by Greg Malfitano of Lynn University.

Mr. Malfitano serves as Lynn University’s senior major gift officer. He was one of the university’s earliest graduates from what was then Marymount College. He began his career as an administrator for Lynn’s President Emeritus Donald Ross and quickly rose in ranks from director of student services in 1977 to vice president for administration and student services in 1982.


Greg has overseen the development of the campus master plan and has supervised major construction projects, including Bobby Campbell Stadium, Count and Countess de Hoernle Sports and Cultural Center, Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library, Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, Mohammed Indimi International Business Center, Snyder Sanctuary, Mary and Harold Perper Residence Hall, Lynn Residence Center, Christine E. Lynn University Center and the Snyder Center for Health and Wellness. In 2012, Malfitano became co-chair for the Presidential Debate, where he spearheaded on-campus planning and administration.


From 1987 to 2015, Greg served as athletics administrator and oversaw the recruitment of every athletic director and head coach. Under his leadership, the Fighting Knights won 23 of their 25 National Championships and advanced from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. Greg guided the university’s recreational and intramural sports teams into one of the region’s most competitive athletics programs. To honor his athletic accomplishments, he was voted into the class of 2024 Athletic Hall of Fame.


For 50 years, Greg has called Lynn his “home away from home.” He’s a devoted steward of the university, working with leadership to fulfill institutional needs. Outside the university, he builds connections with those who share his belief in Lynn’s mission of providing an innovative, global, and personalized education.


Today, this living legend focuses his efforts on fundraising and serves as a trusted advisor to President Kevin Ross. He’s a champion for progress, and a steward for positive change.

As a Lynn trustee, I’ve come to truly value Greg’s amazing achievements. He’s been a catalyst for great things for half a century. All we can say is wow and thank you.


FAU & Lynn: Driving Local Innovation

President John Kelly has energized not only FAU but the broader community.

President John Kelly has energized not only FAU but the broader community as well.

We pride ourselves on being local trend spotters here at

So we are proud to announce that we are seeing a positive trend taking shape in Boca Raton, which will impact the entire region.

Our two local universities FAU and Lynn are making major strides to deepen their excellence, expand their influence and increase their relevance to our local economy.

This is important because both FAU and Lynn are major drivers of intellectual capital and leaders in how our region is viewed by the world. If the Boca area is seen as an intellectual hub and a magnet for young talent, it virtually guarantees economic sustainability and quality of life for the entire community.

FAU has clearly been invigorated by the leadership of President John Kelly. Great leaders engage with the world and bring energy to institutions.  In his first year, Dr. Kelly’s drive and ambition for FAU has clearly penetrated not only the university community but the outside world as well.

A recent agreement to partner with Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Institute is just one of many partnerships fostered as a result of his energetic leadership. It seems that wherever we travel these days, the topic of FAU comes up in conversation and usually in terms of collaboration and external outreach. In Delray alone, the university is working with Delray Students First, Dare 2 Be Great and the Achievement Centers for Children and Families.

VP of Public Service Jorge Calzadilla and his team have been making the rounds and turning heads in the community with their zeal to make an impact and to turn FAU into a university of national significance.

Calzadilla came with President Kelly from Clemson where he served 27 years and did remarkable work impacting children in South Carolina. If you meet Jorge, you can’t help but be swept up by his enthusiasm and vision for FAU.

On the research front, we recently had a chance to hear new VP of Research Dan Flynn discuss his plans to turn FAU into a major research institution complete with patents, start-ups, commercialization efforts, student research opportunities, faculty initiatives and major grants. Flynn has done it before at other institutions and sees no barriers to FAU becoming a world class research center utilizing the amazing natural resources provided by the ocean and the Everglades.

All of this is good news for students, our region, Boca and Delray, alumni and the general community.  Not only will a reinvigorated FAU attract talent, it will help our region retain its young minds. Already in some of our work with young students in Delray and Boca we are beginning to hear a desire to stay home and attend FAU or come back home for graduate work. And keep an eye on FAU’s Tech Runway and Research Park because within a decade or even sooner you will see the first superstar company launched right here in our backyard. All of the elements are in place.

This is great news for those of us who value economic development and it provides our region with an opportunity to go beyond food, beverage, services, construction, tourism and retirees to fuel our economy.

At Lynn University, President Kevin Ross and his leadership team are innovating on multiple fronts.

From a curriculum that is high on relevance and providing hands on experience in an increasingly global society to a very impactful partnership with a little company in Cupertino called Apple, Lynn’s campus crackles with excitement.

Dr. Ross has attracted a top-notch faculty attracted by the opportunity to innovate and a diverse student body that is placing a premium on making an impact on the world.

Whenever I visit with President Ross I’m reminded of a saying: “Normal” is what the majority does, which is why “different” is so much more interesting.


And Lynn has transformed its model to be both different and compelling.

To have both Boca universities performing at high levels at the same time is a unique and happy circumstance.

Switched on cities, progressive non-profits, schools and businesses will find ways to tap into the innovation and excellence happening at Lynn and FAU.

And that’s good news for Boca Raton and Delray Beach.