TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University athletic department and athletic director Laurie Turner announced the hiring of Chad Murray on Thursday as head coach for the Lute men's basketball program.
"Under Chad's leadership, I look forward to seeing men's basketball continue to be a top tier program in the Northwest Conference," said Athletic Director Laurie Turner. "With Chad's breadth of experience serving as both an assistant and head coach at Division III programs, as well as his West Coast ties, will allow him to hit the ground running."
Murray joins the Lutes after serving as head coach at Division III Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa for the last eight seasons. Murray led the Rams to a 12-12 record and a 10-8 mark in Midwest Conference play this winter, advancing to the semifinals of the MWC Tournament. Murray finished 15-11 in his debut season with the Rams back in 2009-2010, setting a school record for wins by a first-year coach. In his eight years at the helm, Cornell has produced four 1,000-point scorers and seven All-Conference honorees, along with five Honorable Mention All-Conference selections.
"I'd like to thank Laurie Turner and all the members of the search committee for showing their faith in me to lead the men's basketball program at PLU into the future," said Murray. "My family and I are very excited to relocate to the Pacific Northwest and begin to connect with the current players, members of the athletic department, and the campus community."
Prior to his stint at Cornell, Murray accrued eight years of experience at the Division III level as an assistant coach with stops at North Central College (2004-2009), Vassar College (2002-2004), and Nebraska Wesleyan University (2001-2002).
Murray served as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at North Central for five seasons, helping the Cardinals compile a 79-51 record after posting just one winning season in the previous 16 years. His efforts included the program's first ever College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Tournament title in 2005-2006 and the program's first NCAA Tournament bid since 1990. His final season in 2008-2009 saw the Cardinals post a 16-10 record, qualifying for the CCIW Tournament for the third time in four years.
No stranger to the Pacific Northwest, Murray played two seasons at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon, leading the team in rebounds while finishing as the third-leading scorer. He went on to graduate from Chapman University (Calif.) in 1998 with a degree in film and television. Murray received his master's degree in education from Capella University (Minn.) in 2005.
"As I made my way through the interview process, I realized very quickly how much my value system aligns with the overall mission of both the Athletic Department and University as a whole. I'm excited to begin the journey with the team and communicate my vision of the program to our incoming recruiting class."
Murray follows in the footsteps of Steve Dickerson who is retiring after 14 seasons as Pacific Lutheran, including the last 11 as the head coach. Dickerson collected 132 wins at PLU, including 116 as head coach and was instrumental in developing young men who were successful both on and off the court, with the team earning the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Team Academic Excellence Award every year since the award was established in 2013.
Murray will officially begin his duties at PLU on April 11.