Bob Murray, PhD, FACSM
Bob never intended to become an exercise physiologist, but became one anyway because all of his prior plans and experiences led him into the field. When faced with the decision of choosing a college major, Bob opted for his favorite class in high school—gym class. Becoming a high-school physical education teacher and coach seemed like the ideal combination of Bob’s interests in sports and fitness, but student teaching in Pittsburgh made him rethink that proposition.
College teaching and coaching seemed like the next logical step and, after receiving his masters degree in physical education, Bob was fortunate to land a job as an assistant professor of health and physical education, along with being men’s swimming and diving coach, at Oswego State University on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York. Three years later, Bob realized it was time for more education because his swimmers kept asking him questions about nutrition and training that he couldn’t answer. In the mid-70s, one of the top exercise-physiology programs in the country was at Ohio State, so Bob continued his education there, graduating with a PhD in 1980.
Armed with his doctorate, Bob set out to continue his career as a college professor—sans coaching—and was hired at Boise State University, where he spent the next five years working and living in fantastic Big Sky country. In the spring of 1985, a single phone call changed Bob’s life and career path. The Gatorade Company needed an exercise physiologist to start an internal research laboratory to help support the Gatorade business. Then part of the Quaker Oats Company based in Chicago, the Gatorade business was founded on scientific research conducted at the University of Florida and Gatorade executives wanted to continue that reliance on science. With great reluctance, mixed with the excitement of a new challenge, Bob moved from the mountains of Idaho to the flatlands of Chicago.
Bob remained director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI; www.gssiweb.org) from 1985 to 2008, leading a team of exercise and nutrition scientists, along with external advisors and researchers, to develop the wide-ranging scientific and education offerings of GSSI, a truly unique enterprise in a corporate setting. Bob and his team’s research on the hydration needs of athletes and the physiological and performance responses to fluid, carbohydrate, and electrolyte ingestion has contributed to the broader understanding of the importance of being well hydrated during exercise and of the role that carbohydrates and electrolytes play in helping athletes and non-athletes alike get the most out of their bodies during physical activity.
Bob is now managing principal of Sports Science Insights, LLC, a consulting group that assists companies and organizations in need of targeted expertise in exercise science and sports nutrition. SSI’s clients range from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Bob is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and an honorary member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).