That’s what word comes to mind when Matt Murray thinks about his new role as head baseball coach at Pittsburg State University.
“It’s hard for me to express just how grateful I am for this opportunity,” Murray said. “I have the greatest respect and appreciation for this university, from the administration on down.”
Appreciation is also the word he uses to describe how he feels about the PSU community as a whole.
“It’s so great to be a part of a university and a community that share that mutual appreciation for the other,” he said. “This is definitely a unique situation in which the feelings the university has about the community are the same that the community has about the university. I’m so proud to be a part of this.”
Murray replaces Steve Bever who retired following the 2012 season after 22 seasons as the Gorillas head coach.
“We are very excited to have Matt Murray join the Gorilla family as our new head baseball coach,” PSU athletics director Jim Johnson said. “Matt has enjoyed tremendous success as a coach in each of his previous assignments and he was very articulate in laying out his vision and blue print for the future of Pitt State baseball.”
During the past five seasons, Murray has served as assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator for the Mules. He helped guide UCM to three NCAA Division II World Series berths (2008, 2010-11). The Mules captured three MIAA regular season titles and four MIAA postseason tournament championships during his five seasons in Warrensburg, Mo., including both MIAA regular season and tournament crowns this past spring.
Prior to joining the UCM staff, Murray served one season as an assistant baseball coach at Kansas State University in 2007.
He also served for six years as an instructor and head baseball coach at Claremore (Okla.) High School, from 2002-06. He compiled 151 victories and a .760 winning percentage while guiding CHS to three straight Oklahoma Class 5A state championship game appearances, capturing state titles in 2003 and 2005. His 2005 squad was ranked No. 11 nationally in the final USA Today prep poll. In 2003, Murray earned Oklahoma Class 5A state coach of the year honors from both the Oklahoma Coaches Association and the Tulsa World.
The PSU baseball season begins on Feb. 16 when the Gorillas take on the Maryville Saints.