By Ron Rop
NORTON SHORES–Louis Murray bided his time as a basketball assistant coach for many years.
And when the Mona Shores boys’ basketball head coaching job came available, Murray decided it was time. Time for him to take a shot at becoming the head coach of a high school basketball program.
On Monday night, Murray was introduced to the Mona Shores community in a gathering at the Sailor Center at Mona Shores High School. He is the 15th boys’ coach in Sailor history, taking over for Brad Kuerth, who coached three seasons.
About 100 friends, family, community members and Sailor athletes showed up to listen to Murray give his first speech as the head coach of the Sailor basketball program.
‘I’m looking forward to it, the turnout tonight speaks for itself,” Murray said. “But that just shows that this community is ready to get started and I want to be that person that brings it to them. I feel the buzz already.”
Murray played point guard for the Muskegon Big Reds and was part of the team that reached the Class A quarterfinals in 1999. He played at Muskegon Community College for Coach Gene Gifford.
“I had a pretty good playing career, no complaints,” Murray said. “I want to give these kids the same chance to see what it feels like and taste success.”
His coaching career began as an assistant at Holton High School from 2006-2008. He returned to Muskegon and assisted Bernard Loudermill and then Keith Guy.
That pedigree made him a clear choice to the interview board, along with athletic director Todd Conrad, that they had their guy when Murray came along.
“He is a smart guy, calm and collected in times of duress,” said Conrad, who noticed Murray on the sideline when the Big Reds played the Sailors then ventured to the quarterfinals in March to watch the Big Reds take on East Lansing.
“He was clearly heavily involved in a really intense basketball game,” Conrad said of that quarterfinal game. “We looked for someone who can connect with the kids and it became obvious that he is very known in the community.
“He’s a guy who can put it together on the sideline and also keep it together on the sideline,” Conrad said. “His championship pedigree was a big thing. The fact that he was at Muskegon for so long and had the patience to be there and learn under some really, really accomplished head coaches … I think he’s seen it all and I think everyone who knows him agrees he’s ready for the next level.”
Certainly that time learning, watching Coach Guy and experiencing the success of the Big Red basketball program has had a possible effect on Murray.
“I believe greatness comes from greatness and I’m thankful for time spent with him and to know how to run an organization, how to relate to kids and how to build a program,” Murray said. “I’m thankful for my time with him.”
And what did he take away from Coach Guy?
“Patience … do everything the best way that you can and do everything with love,” Murray said. “We will approach everything with a positive attitude and we both show that competitive spirit where we hate to lose more than we like to win.”