May 20, 2014
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State head volleyball coach Tom Hilbert completed his 2014 coaching staff on Tuesday, naming Luke Murray as the Rams’ newest assistant coach.
Murray, 28, will work with the team’s middle blockers, in addition to being the program’s scouting coordinator and handling a large portion of its recruiting.
“I’d like to thank Tom and the entire CSU athletics staff for this opportunity," Murray said. "It's an honor for me to work under Tom, and to be a part of a program that has such a rich history. Colorado State volleyball is a big name on a national level, and I'm excited to be part of it."
Murray spent the past two seasons (2012-13) as an assistant at East Tennessee State. With the Buccaneers, he guided the team to a pair of conference titles and a 45-22 overall record.
"Luke is somebody who is mature beyond his experience in college coaching," Hilbert said. "I view the hiring of him the same way I recruit. I think he's somebody who has great potential. He has the desire to excel in this field, and from all accounts from the people I've talked to, he's an extremely hard worker."
In 2012, ETSU went 23-13 and appeared in the school's first-ever NCAA tournament after running the table during the Atlantic-Sun tournament. A year later, the Buccaneers went 22-9 and won the regular-season title.
Murray worked with the setters, the position he won a national championship at while playing for Penn State. As ETSU's top assistant, he also served as the team's recruiting coordinator and assisted with scouting and academics.
ETSU setter Jamie Rutledge averaged 10.79 assists per set in 2013 (52nd in NCAA), in addition to earning several community service and leadership awards. Murray also coached Megan Devine, the 2012 Atlantic-Sun Player of the Year and tournament MVP. Devine was named a 2013 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention.
Aside from setting, ETSU's offense was in the top 50 nationally for hitting percentage in 2013, and on defense, the Buccaneers ranked 19th in the NCAA with 2.77 blocks per set. CSU ranked just ahead of ETSU, ranking 13th with 2.84 per set.
Even with a successful two-year stint at ETSU, Murray is most known for his playing experience. The former setter helped Penn State to a national title in 2008, being named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. As a senior that year, Murray was also tabbed as an AVCA second-team All-America selection and the AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week on March 27, 2008.
The two-time captain and first-team All-EIVA selection finished his career with 3,191 assists, which ranks seventh all-time in Penn State history. He played for head coach Mark Pavlik.
Following his collegiate career, Murray trained with the U.S. National Team in Anaheim, Calif., under Hugh McCutcheon and Alan Knipe (2008-09, spring 2011). From there, Murray played professionally in Cyprus and Puerto Rico (2009-12).
"I've had some great coaches teach and develop me over the years," Murray said. "To be able to pull philosophies and styles from coaches who are really well respected is something I feel fortunate for. The coaches I've gotten to play for and coach with have developed me as a coach."
Murray spent three summers as a volleyball clinician with U.S. Elite Volleyball (2011-13), where he co-ran a clinic designed to help coaches implement effective practice methods. Prior to that, he spent two summers (2009-10) as the lead coach for Gold Medal Squared.
Away from the court, Murray has helped his players to plenty of success in the classroom. During the 2012-13 academic year, ETSU held a 3.59 grade-point average, with four student-athletes being placed on the A-Sun All-Academic Team.
Murray, a native of Washington, Pa., graduated from Penn State in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He is married to the former Kendall Grow.
He replaces Matthew Botsford, who accepted the head coaching position at Florida Gulf Coast on Feb. 10. Botsford is one of six active Division I coaches to formerly coach under Hilbert.
"Luke's playing experience speaks for itself, but I think we'll find that his hard work makes him just as good of a coach," Hilbert said. "I'm very pleased with this hire. I think he's a good fit for us as a staff and the Colorado State program."
CSU is coming off a record-breaking season, in which the Rams set multiple program marks, including 27 consecutive victories and a .933 winning percentage (28-2). CSU won its fifth consecutive Mountain West title, earned a trip to the NCAA tournament for the 19th straight season, was ranked as high as No. 9 nationally and finished seventh in the NCAA for average attendance.
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