About Clinton William Murchison, Jr.
on left in profile photo
Clint William Murchison Jr., (September 12, 1923 in Dallas, Texas-March 30, 1987) was a businessman and founder of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
A son of Clint Murchison, Sr. who made his first fortune in oil exploration and became notorious for exploiting the sale of "hot oil" (see Hot Oil case for explanation of this term), Junior and his surviving brother inherited their father's wealth and business interests to which Clint Jr. added ventures of his own. These included the establishment of the NFL Dallas Cowboys franchise and financing the offshore pirate radio station called Radio Nord.
Clint Murchison Jr had two brothers: John D. Murchison and Burk Murchison who at age ten died in 1936 from a childhood disease. His mother died when he was two and he was mainly raised by an aunt. He attended school at Lawrenceville Prep and then became a student at Duke University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering. He received a master's degree in Mathematics from MIT.
Following the death of his father Clint Murchison, Sr., Clint Jr. and his surviving brother John inherited the wealth that their father had created.
With his older brother John D., Clint W. Jr began doing business as the Murchison Brothers in the late nineteen-forties from an office in Dallas, Texas. Their inherited interests included the Daisy Manufacturing Company (manufacturing a BB gun); the Centex Corporation; Field and Stream magazine; Henry Holt and Company (later known as Holt, Rinehart, and Winston); Delhi Oil and a marine construction company known as Tecon Corporation.
In 1952, Murchison joined a syndicate that included Everette Lee DeGolyer and Jack Crichton, both of Dallas, to use connections in the government of General Francisco Franco to obtain drilling rights in Spain. The operation was handled by Delta Drilling, owned by Joe Zeppa.
Dallas Cowboys founding owner
In 1960, the National Football League approved a franchise for Dallas and Murchison, along with Bedford Wynne, was the franchisee or license holder. A motivating factor in the NFL's decision to award a license for Dallas was the establishment of the American Football League (AFL) by Lamar Hunt, another Dallas area businessman. Hunt, in creating the AFL established a professional football presence in Dallas and the NFL realized the urgency with which they needed to address a potential market gain by the upstart league and a loss for the established organization.
Clint Murchison Jr was a hands-off owner, delegating a great deal of operational control of the Cowboys to General Manager Tex Schramm, Coach Tom Landry and Scouting/Personnel Director Gil Brandt. His general attitude was to hire experts and let them execute the aspect of the business that fell in their expertise. Hence, Landry enjoyed absolute authority over the day to day running of the actual team; Brandt was unhindered in the area of drafting and scouting players and Schramm oversaw many of the team's day to day administrative concerns. This laissez faire attitude has been credited by many Cowboys fans as the driving force in the team's 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966–1985; by not interfering with his coaches and staff, Murchison did not create an atmosphere of second guessing and arguments over player selection or credit for the team's success.
In 1984, Clint W. Murchison Jr sold the Dallas Cowboys to an investment syndicate led by H. R. "Bum" Bright, a Dallas area businessman who had a background in banking/financial services and in oil/gas production. Bright in turn sold the Cowboys to Jerry Jones in 1989 following several losing seasons.
Murchison funded radio entrepreneur Gordon McLendon to create a floating commercial (pirate radio) station called Radio Nord aboard the motor vessel Bon Jour anchored in the Stockholm archipelago. Murchison and McLendon remained in the shadows and allowed Murchison's long time friend Robert Thompson to take credit for actual ownership while day-to-day management was vested in Swedish-Finnish businessman Jack S. Kotschack.
Radio Nord broadcast in Swedish for 16 months, between March 8, 1961 and June 30, 1962. With its mix of popular music, dj's and news Radio Nord became very popular. Despite politics and religious issues being banned at the station, it was stopped when the Swedish government introduced new legislation in the spring of 1962, criminalizing the act of buying commercials on the station.
The ship Bon Jour was later renamed Mi Amigo, and after docking for almost a year in Galveston, Texas she sailed for southern England to became Radio Atlanta (McLendon began his radio career in Atlanta, Texas. The station was not a financial success, and joined forces with the Caroline organization, to became the southern station of Radio Caroline. Within a short space of time the "Project Atlanta" people sold out completely to the Caroline group.
Clint Murchison ran into financial difficulties as a result of irrational investments and mismanagement at a time when the real estate market collapsed amidst a sharp increase in the price of oil. In February 1985, he had to file for personal bankruptcy protection after three creditors, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Kona-Post Corporation and Citicorp, filed a petition to force him into bankruptcy. Lawyers involved in the case called it one of the largest personal bankruptcy cases in United States history.
He died of pneumonia in 1987 in Dallas.