Murray steps down as Cornell head coach
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Men's Basketball - Tue, Apr. 4, 2017

MOUNT VERNON – One month after guiding the Rams to their first postseason appearance in seven years, Cornell head men's basketball coach Chad Murray has announced his resignation for a similar role in the Pacific Northwest.

Murray accepted the head coaching position at NCAA Division III Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. His new duties begin April 10.

Murray steps down after eight seasons on the Hilltop. His 2016-17 squad won its final six games of the regular season and qualified for the Midwest Conference Tournament as the No. 3 seed, falling by one point to Ripon in the MWC semifinal.

"I'd like to thank President Jonathan Brand, the athletic administration, fellow coaches, and most importantly, my past and current players for an incredible eight years here at Cornell," said Murray, who posted a 71-121 record in Mount Vernon. "I love my team here and this decision to leave Cornell was not an easy one. This program is on solid footing and poised for long-term success."

A national search for a new coach will begin soon.

The Rams can build on a 12-12 finish to the 2016-17 campaign. They went 11-7 in league play, the most conference wins in a season since 2008-09.

"We are happy for Chad and wish him the very best as he moves forward with his new position," Cornell co-interim director of athletics Jeff Meeker said. "We appreciate all of the hard work he has given to Cornell and our basketball program. He leaves the program in great shape and we are excited about the future."

Cornell returns many key pieces – four starters and 17 total letterwinners – for next season, led by first team all-MWC point guard Corey Davis (JR/Glendale Heights, Ill.) and MWC Newcomer of the Year Jon Anderson (JR/Mexico, Mo.). The Rams jumped five spots in the conference standings this season.  

"There is an incredible group coming back that will use this year's late-season run to catapult them into contention for a Midwest Conference championship," Murray said. "I will forever cherish the strong relationships I've built with my players and wish nothing but the best for them here at Cornell, and also in the future. My family and I are very excited for what lies ahead at Pacific Lutheran."

Murray has familiarity with the West Coast. He played collegiate basketball at Umpqua (Roseburg, Ore.) Community College and then at Chapman (Orange, Calif.) University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1998.

Murray made Division III coaching stops as an assistant at Nebraska Wesleyan (2001-02), Vassar (2002-04) and North Central (2004-09) prior to taking over Cornell's program in 2009-10, a season after the Rams played in the NCAA Tournament.

Murray directed his initial Ram squad to a 15-11 record. The team finished fifth in the Iowa Conference and qualified for the IIAC Tournament. The 15 wins are the most by a first-year men's coach in Cornell history.

Cornell's program came full circle this February, charging back to the postseason and falling one possession short of reaching the MWC championship game.

The Rams landed seven all-conference performers during Murray's time on the Hilltop. He had six players reach the 900-point mark, including the program's No. 2 all-time scorer in Reggie Greenwood (1,440 points, 2010-14) and Davis (1,134 points, 2014-present), who could threaten the career record next season.