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Veteran NHL coach Murray leads WMU hockey team

by Adam Bodnar

July 26, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU hockey coach Andy Murray.
Bronco Coach Andy Murray
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has announced the hiring of NHL coaching veteran Andy Murray as the new ice hockey head coach. Murray signed a five-year contract becoming the sixth head coach in the program's 38-year history.

"Coach Murray becomes a Bronco after assembling a very extensive and successful body of work as an NHL and international head coach," says Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard. "Consistent with our stated goals of competing at the highest levels of Division I ice hockey and of winning a hockey national championship this decade, Andy's hiring is another clear signal our University is seriously engaged in achieving this coveted pinnacle."

Murray comes to WMU with an extensive resume earned at the highest level of professional hockey. He is one of only 39 coaches in NHL history to reach 300 wins with a career record of 333-278-58-71. He has 10 years of NHL head coaching experience, spending six seasons, 1999-2006, at the helm of the Los Angeles Kings and four, 2006-10, with the St. Louis Blues.

Murray is the Kings' all-time franchise leader in wins with 215 and led Los Angeles to three 90-point seasons in his tenure. During the 2008-09 season with St. Louis he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Blues to a third-place finish in the Central Division.

Murray has spent a total of 20 years as either a head or assistant coach in the NHL. He held assistant coaching positions with the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers. While he has not coached in college hockey in the United States, he did coach at Brandon University, a Canadian college, for three seasons. In his short time he was able to turn Brandon into the top-ranked program in all of Canadian college hockey.

Photo of WMU hockey coach Andy Murray.
"I've always had a high level of respect for coaches in the college game and what they do on a daily basis," said Murray. "I look forward to the challenge of coaching some outstanding people. The college game is a great place to be, and I have told coaches that for years. I don't know if it gets better at any level. I have had a lot of great opportunities in my coaching career, and I am really excited for this one."

To go with his extensive professional coaching background, Murray also brings international experience. He coached Team Canada to gold medals at the 2007, 2003 and 1997 World Hockey Championships. He is the only Canadian coach in history to win three World Championships, and he also held the highest winning percentage as a coach, 64-percent, in the history of the Canadian Men's National Team.

Murray was also a head coach in Europe, coaching three Swiss professional teams and a German team in the early 1980s and early 90s.

"I think he is going to be a great fit," said former Bronco great Jamal Mayers, who played for Murray during his time with the St. Louis Blues. "He is a player's coach who is going to be demanding and is very detail oriented. There won't be a single night the team won't be prepared."

A native of Souris, Manitoba, Murray and his wife have three children, all of whom play professional hockey in Switzerland. His youngest son, Jordy, played for the University of Wisconsin and his oldest son, Brady, played for North Dakota. His daughter, Sarah, played Division I college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth, where she was a part of two National Championship teams.

As a part of celebrating the new hire, anyone who purchases season tickets in the next 60 hours will be invited to a "Welcome to Kalamazoo" reception for the new coach. Details of the event will be announced at a later date. Any fan who has already renewed or who has purchased tickets for the 2011-12 season will also be invited to this event. The promotion ends at noon Thursday, July 28.

Tickets can be purchased online at, toll free at (888) 4-WMU-TIX or in person at the Bronco Ticket Office in Waldo Stadium. Season tickets are $160 for 18 home games, including Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth.