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Murray State Racers men's basketball

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Title: Murray State Racers men's basketball  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year, Mick Cronin (basketball), 1997–98 NCAA Division I men's basketball season, Isaiah Canaan, Billy Kennedy (basketball)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Murray State Racers men's basketball

Murray State Racers
2014–15 Murray State Racers men's basketball team
Murray State Racers athletic logo
University Murray State University
Conference OVC
Location Murray, KY
Head coach Steve Prohm (4th year)
Arena CFSB Center
(Capacity: 8,602)
Nickname Racers

Navy Blue and Gold

Home jersey
Team colours
Away jersey
Team colours
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1964, 1969, 1988, 2010, 2012
NCAA Tournament appearances
1964, 1969, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012
Conference tournament champions
1951, 1964, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012
Conference regular season champions
1951, 1964, 1968, 1969, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012
Conference division season champions
2013, 2014

Murray State Racers men's basketball program represents intercollegiate men's basketball at Murray State University. The school competes in the Ohio Valley Conference in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and play home games at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky. Steve Prohm is the current head coach. Murray State made its 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Three times the Racers advanced in the tournament, most recently when it defeated Colorado State in 2012. In 1988, Murray State defeated North Carolina State in the first round but lost to eventual national champion Kansas in the second round. In 2010, 22 years to the date of the 1988 win, the Racers beat Vanderbilt and lost to eventual runner-up Butler in the second round.


Murray State's first basketball venues were Wilson Hall (1926-27); Lovett Auditorium (1927–1937), which had a capacity of 1,500; and Carr Health Building (1937–1954), which had a capacity of 3,000.[1] Racer Arena opened in 1954 and entertained Racer fans for 43 years. While its capacity was 5,500, over 6,000 people crowded the arena on numerous occasions.[2] Racer Arena is now a volleyball-only facility, the largest in NCAA Division I.[3]

CFSB Center

Replacing Racer Arena is the CFSB Center, the current home of Murray State men's basketball. Constructed in June 1998 at a cost of $20 million, the facility is a state-of-the-art arena which can host other events besides basketball. The CFSB Center sits 8,602 and includes a $250,000 scoreboard and a 2,000 sq. ft. weight room. The first basketball game at the CFSB Center was against Southern Illinois on November 14, 1998, a 65-62 victory for the Racers in front of 7,633 spectators.[2] It was formerly known as the Regional Special Events Center, or "RSEC", until the name was changed on September 17, 2010 after Community Financial Services Bank donated $3.3 million to Murray State, the largest donation in athletic history.[4]


Murray State basketball has consistently been recognized as one of the best college basketball programs in the history of the sport. In 2005, Street & Smith's named the Racers the 52nd best program of all time.[5] In their prestige system, ESPN ranked Murray State the 30th best programs from 1984–2008, breaking a tie with Villanova due to a higher winning percentage. The Racers are the highest "true" mid-major team in their rankings.[6]

Cutchin era (1925-1941)

Carlisle Cutchin launched the Murray State basketball program in 1925.[1] At the time, Murray State was a teacher's college and the nickname was the Thoroughbreds.[7] In the 1935-36 season, Cutchin coached Murray State to its highest win percentage for a season at .920, when his Thoroughbreds finished with a record of 23-2.[8] That season also included Murray State's best start, at 19-1.[9] In his final season, he led the Thoroughbreds to the title game of the 1941 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, at which time they lost to the San Diego State Aztecs 36-34.[1] Since he retired in 1941, he has maintained his position as the all-time winningest coach in Murray State basketball history, with a career record of 267-101.[9]

Mountjoy era (1941-1942)

Rice Mountjoy was hired as the next men's basketball coach from Danville High School, where he was athletic director.[7] In his only season with the Thoroughbreds, he coached the team to an 18-4 record.[10] That season was marked by strong play from early jump shot proponent Joe Fulks, who transferred from Millsaps College.[11] Mountjoy left after the 1941-42 season to coach Augusta Tilghman High School in nearby Paducah.[12]

Miller era (1942-1948)

Former Murray State basketball player and then-freshman team coach John Miller replaced Mountjoy as head basketball coach.[12] His best season was his first, when he led the team to a 21–5 record and finished fourth in the 1941 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.[10]

Hodges era (1948-1954)

From Southern Illinois,[13] Harlan Hodges led the team to two NAIA Tournaments and two No. 16 AP rankings in his six seasons, with a 109–66 (.623) record. Bennie Purcell and Garrett Beshear were on the roster during those years and were later named NAIA All-Americans.[14] Hodges left Murray in May 1954 for the University of Idaho in the Pacific Coast Conference,[15] where success largely eluded him. He resigned after five seasons in 1959 to become the superintendent of schools in Anna, Illinois,[16][17] then returned to Murray in 1964 to teach.[18]

Alexander era (1955-1958)

Luther era (1959-1974)

Cal Luther was a firebrand of a coach. The standing joke at the University was the over and under of Cal throwing off his jacket during a game due to a call by a ref, or from frustration with a player. The latter part of his tenure was marred by an OVC issue with testing and which tests the schools in the OVC used to qualify athletes. During the 73- 74 season several players were disqualified for using an illegal testing equivalency. This happened across the OVC, and Murray was not the only school to lose student athletes. Most of the Disqualified athletes were allowed to transfer by the NCAA to other schools, but OVC schools lost the services of those athletes who had not actually taken the SAT, but had taken the ACT.

Overton era (1975-1978)

Greene era (1978-1985)

Ron Greene returned to his alma mater fresh off earning the AP Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award at Mississippi State in 1978.

After managing only four wins in his first season as coach at Murray, Greene led the Racers to 23 wins the following year and an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. The Racers knocked off Jacksonville and Alabama before losing to Illinois 65-63 in the quarterfinals, all on the road. Greene’s Racers would win three Ohio Valley Conference regular-season titles and reach the NIT twice more under his guidance.

A highlight of the 1981-82 season came when Murray State traveled to South Bend, Indiana, to play against Notre Dame. Murray State defeated a Notre Dame team coached by Digger Phelps 56-54.[19]

His overall record at Murray State was 119-78. While at the Racer helm, Greene coached Racer greats Gary Hooker and Lamont Sleets.

Newton era (1985-1991)

In Steve Newton's second season, in 1987-88, the team finished with a 13-15 record.[20] This marked the last time the Racers had a losing season; only Arizona, Kansas, and Syracuse hold longer streaks.[1][21]

In addition to Murray's win in 1988, two years later the No. 16 seed Racers took No. 1 seed Michigan State into overtime before falling 75-71. The loss in 1990 was the closest a 16 seeded team had ever come to knocking off a No. 1 seeded team in the tournament. While a 16 seeded Princeton team and a 16 seeded East Tennessee State team both fell by just 1 point during regulation in the 1989 tournament, the 1990 Murray State team was the only 16 seed ever to take a game into overtime.[22][23] In 1997, the No. 15 seed Racers nearly shocked the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils in a 71-68 loss.

The best-known player in the Newton era is Popeye Jones. While at Murray State, Jones scored 2,057 points which still ranks fourth all time for the Racers. He is also Murray State's all-time leader in rebounds with 1,374, and led the nation in that category in the 1990-91 season. Jones is the only player in MSU history to record more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Jones helped lead the Racers to OVC championships in 1991 and 1992. He went on to have a successful career in the NBA after being drafted in the second round by the Houston Rockets in the 1992 NBA Draft.

Edgar era (1992-1995)

Gottfried era (1995-1998)

Mark Gottfried coached Murray State from 1995 to 1998.

Mark Gottfried was hired as head basketball coach after serving seven seasons as an assistant coach under Jim Harrick at UCLA. Gottfried was hired shortly after he finished the 1995 season with the Bruins, in which he helped lead the Bruins to a NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Mark Gottfried was also the nephew of ESPN analyst and former Murray State football coach Mike Gottfried.

In Gottfried's first season, the Racers returned four starters, including Marcus Brown, from the Racer team that nearly upset North Carolina in the 1995 NCAA Tournament, and the team was picked to finished first in the OVC. The Racers won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship in 1996 for the third straight season; however, the Racers were defeated in the OVC tournament. In the final game of the tournament, Murray State's Vincent Rainey was charged with a foul with twenty seconds left on the clock in a tie game against the rival Austin Peay Governors. APSU's Reggie Crenshaw made two free throws and the Racers lost the game 68-70. As a result of the loss, the Racers did not reach the 1996 NCAA Tournament. The Racers lost to the Missouri Tigers in the opening round of the 1996 National Invitational Tournament, and finished the season 19-10. Marcus Brown finished his college playing career at the close of the 1996 season with 2,236 career points, which is third best in Murray State history.

With a November 23, 1996, victory over the Belmont Bruins, the Racers began a 47-game home winning streak that would last into the 1999-2000 season. The Racers won the 1997 OVC Tournament with an overtime win over Austin Peay and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

ESPN's College Basketball Encyclopedia names the Racers 1997-98 season as having the best team in school history. OVC player of the year De'Teri Mayes led the 1997-98 team to 23 victories by double digit margins. Isaac Spencer was a freshman on the team. Spencer would go on to score 2,248 points over four seasons, which places him second place all time for the Racers. The Racers won both the OVC regular season and OVC tournament again in 1998; however, Murray State fell to number eight seed Rhode Island in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Racers finished the season a number 25 ranking in the final AP Poll. Mark Gottfried won three Ohio Valley Conference Championships in each of his three seasons, the only OVC coach to accomplish such a mark.[24][25]

Gottfried was hired by Alabama to be head basketball coach in March 1998. He had been a starting player for the Crimson Tide for three seasons between 1985-87.

Anderson era (1998-2003)

Tevester Anderson was promoted to head coach of the Racers in March, 1998 after Mark Gottfried left Murray State to take the head coach position at the University of Alabama. Anderson, the first African American to serve as head coach of the Murray State men's basketball team, had previously served as an assistant coach under Gottfried during the previous three seasons. At age 61, Anderson was also the oldest rookie head coach in NCAA Division I basketball. In his first year as coach of the Racers, Anderson led the team to a 27-6 record, an Ohio Valley Conference championship, and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Anderson was named the OVC's Co-Coach of the Year and was named NABC District 7 Coach of the Year following the 1998-99 season.[26][27]

In Anderson's second year as head coach, the Racers finished the 1999-2000 season with a 23-9 record. The record was good enough to capture a share of the OVC regular season championship, but the Racer's failed to win the OVC Tournament and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Murray State home court winning streak, the longest in the nation, also came to an end in 2000 with a January 15 loss to Southeast Missouri State University.

Over the next three years under Anderson, the success of the Racer basketball program steadily declined, culminating in a low point during the 2002-03 season. The Racers finished the 2002-03 season with a 17-12 record, which was fourth-place in the OVC standings. The fourth-place finish was the worst finish in the OVC standings since the 1986-87 season. Amid rumors that Anderson would relinquish his coaching duties at Murray State under pressure from university officials, he resigned from the head coach position in March 2003.[28] Anderson was named as the new head coach at Jackson State University in April 2003.[29]

Cronin era (2003-2006)

Previously an assistant at Cincinnati(1997-2001) under Bob Huggins and at Louisville (2001–03) under Rick Pitino, Mick Cronin was introduced as the new head coach of the Racers on April 5, 2003. When he accepted the position, Cronin became the fourth youngest head coach in NCAA Division-I basketball. In Cronin's first season as head coach, the Racers won the OVC tournament and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament where the Racers fell to No. 5 seeded Illinois. The success of the 2003-04 season was also tainted by arrests and suspensions. Just before the start of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, juniors Adam Chiles and Kelvin Brown were arrested on drug charges. Chiles was charged with hindering prosecution and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and Brown was charged with theft from an alleged gas drive-off, possession of marijuana, and his second offense of possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were arrested following a 911 hangup call from their apartment in which Chiles was found outside and Brown was found hiding in a closet. Chiles was cleared to play in the tournament, but Brown was suspended indefinitely and later dismissed from the team in April.[30]

Problems continued for the Racers in the 2004-05 season. The team's only returning starter, Adam Chiles, was dismissed from the team in November following his second arrest of 2004. Chiles was stopped by Kentucky State Police while driving on Western Kentucky Parkway near Leitchfield, Kentucky. Chiles was charged with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, possession of an open alcoholic beverage container, and speeding. Chiles had averaged 10.1 points and 3.9 assists for the Racers in the previous season. The Racers went on to finish the 2004-05 season with a record of 20-10 and a first round loss in the OVC tournament.[31]

In the 2006 tournament, junior guard Trey Pearson missed a critical 3-point shot in the final seconds of the first round game against No. 3 seeded defending champion North Carolina. UNC was fouled on the rebound and went to the line to sink the game clinching shots to defeat the No. 14 seeded Racers 69-65. After the 2006 NCAA Tournament Cronin took the reins of the Cincinnati Bearcats,his hometown team and alma mater.[32]

Kennedy era (2006-2011)

A Murray State basketball game in 2011.

The Racers won their first-round game in the 2010 NCAA tournament in dramatic fashion, defeating fourth-seeded Vanderbilt 66-65 on a buzzer-beating jump shot by senior Danero Thomas. This was the first time that any Ohio Valley Conference team had advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament since Middle Tennessee advanced in 1989. The Racers followed up a regular season conference championship for the second year in a row in 2011. The Racers were eliminated from the OVC tournament in 2011; however, they earned a number six seed in the National Invitational Tournament where the Racers suffered a first round loss to Missouri State University. In May 2011, Billy Kennedy announced that he was leaving Murray State to accept the head coach position at Texas A&M University.

Prohm era (2011-present)

Steve Prohm was introduced as the 15th head coach on May 23, 2011. Prohm was promoted to the head coach position after serving as an assistant coach under Billy Kennedy for the previous five seasons. The Racers won the 2011 Great Alaska Shootout early in the 2011-12 season and went on a 23-game winning streak to start the season. The team's 23-0 start under Prohm was the best start to a season in team history. The 23-0 start beat the previous best start record of 16-0 set by the 1935-36 men's basketball team under Carlisle Cutchin. The 23-0 start was the third-best start in NCAA Division I history for a first-year head coach, and it set OVC records for most wins to start a season and overall winning streak during a season[33][34]

The 10th win of the 2011-12 season was a victory over the then No. 21-ranked Memphis Tigers. This was Murray State's first win over a ranked team since defeating Vanderbilt in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. It was also Murray State's first win over a ranked team during the regular season since the Racers defeated No. 12 Arkansas in 1997. Following the victory over Memphis, the Racers entered the national polls at No. 24 on the AP Top 25 Poll on December 12, 2011. This marked the first time an OVC basketball team had been ranked in the major national polls since the Racers were last ranked at No. 25 in the final poll of the 1998 season. The No. 24 ranking also marked the team's highest ranking since February 1971, when the Racers were 17th.[35][36] The No. 24-ranked Racers defeated the Lipscomb Bisons in the 11th game of the season. The victory was the first win for Murray State as a ranked team since a ranked Racer team defeated Tennessee Tech 72-69 on February 2, 1971.[37] On January 2, 2012, Murray State moved into the No. 1 spot in the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. The Racers became the first OVC team to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking in the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. Following Murray State's 16th win of the season, a January 7, 2012, victory over conference-rival Austin Peay, the Racers moved up to No. 14 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll and No. 15 in the AP Poll. Their 17th win came against Jacksonville State at the CFSB center to put the Racers to 17-0, and their best start in school history. Their 18th win against Tennessee Tech, 82-74 on January 14, 2012, kept Murray one of only three Division I schools with an unbeaten season as of that date. The January 9 AP ranking was the highest ranking in the history of the Murray State men's basketball program. The No. 15 ranking was also the highest ranking for an OVC team since the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were ranked No. 7 on March 16, 1971.[38]

On February 9, 2012, Murray State hosted OVC-rival Tennessee State University as the No. 9 team in the nation and the lone unbeaten in Division I basketball. Murray State lost 72-68. Two days later, Murray State answered with a definitive win at home against rival Austin Peay 82-63, bringing its record to 24-1.[39] This win was quickly followed by a win on the road at SEMO, 75-66, to clinch the Racers third consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championship.[40]

On February 18, Murray State hosted St. Mary's College in a much-anticipated Bracketbuster event, and the last home game of the season. The game was not only a sellout, but the largest ever for attendance at the CFSB center: 8,825. This marked the first time two ranked teams played at the CFSB Center (Murray State No. 16 AP, No. 14 USA Today/ESPN; St. Mary's No. 21 AP, No. 16 USA Today/ESPN) and the first time a ranked Murray State team played another ranked team. The game also featured a national TV audience on ESPN with legendary announcers Dave O'Brien and Dick Vitale calling the action. Murray State never trailed in the game and defeated St. Mary's 65-51, improving its record to 26-1.[41] As the historic 2011-12 season came to a close, the Murray State men's basketball program was the recipient of several high-profile awards. Coach Steve Prohm was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, which marked the third-consecutive year the award was presented to a Murray State head coach. Prohm also was recognized as the District-IV Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association and District 19 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Prohm also received two national coach of the year awards: the Basketball Times Coach of the Year Award and the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year Award.[42][43][44][45] Junior point guard Isaiah Canaan was named Second Team All-America by the Associated Press, as well as selected to the John R. Wooden All-American team, Lute Olson All-America team, NABC All-America Third Team, and Sporting News All-America First Team. Canaan was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, Bob Cousy Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Lou Henson Award and to the Naismith College Player of the Year Midseason watch list.[46][47]

Season by season results

Starting from the 1987–88 season, the Racers have recorded a winning season for 27 straight years.

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Carlisle Cutchin (KIAC & SIAA) (1925–1941)
1925-26 Murray State Racers 9-5
1926-27 Murray State Racers 11-9
1927-28 Murray State Racers 8-9
1928-29 Murray State Racers 12-8 Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament
1929-30 Murray State Racers 19-2 Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament
1930-31 Murray State Racers 12-6 SIAA Tournament
1931-32 Murray State Racers 17-3 SIAA Tournament
1932-33 Murray State Racers 14-6 KIAC Tournament Runner-up, SIAA Tournament
1933-34 Murray State Racers 11-6 KIAC Tournament
1934-35 Murray State Racers 18-6 KIAC Tournament Runner-up, SIAA Tournament
1935-36 Murray State Racers 23-2 KIAC Tournament, SIAA Tournament Champions
1936-37 Murray State Racers 22-3 KIAC Tournament Runner-up, SIAA Tournament Runner-up
1937-38 Murray State Racers 27-4 KIAC Tournament Runner-up, SIAA Tournament Runner-up, NAIA Final Four, 3rd
1938-39 Murray State Racers 13-8 KIAC Tournament, SIAA Tournament, NAIA 2nd Round
1939-40 Murray State Racers 14-9 KIAC Tournament, SIAA Tournament
1940-41 Murray State Racers 26-5 KIAC Tournament Champions, SIAA Tournament Runner-up, NAIA Runner-up
Carlisle Cutchin: 256-90
Rice Mountjoy (KIAC & SIAA) (1941–1942)
1941-42 Murray State Racers 18-4 KIAC Tournament, NAIA 1st Round
Rice Mountjoy: 18-4
John Miller (KIAC) (1943–1948)
1942-43 Murray State Racers 21-5 KIAC Tournament, NAIA Final Four, 4th
1943-44 Murray State Racers 5-9
1944-45 Murray State Racers 12-10
1945-46 Murray State Racers 10-13 KIAC Tournament
1946-47 Murray State Racers 14-11 KIAC Tournament
John Miller & Carlisle Cutchin (KIAC) (1947–1948)
1947-48 Murray State Racers 12-12 KIAC Tournament
John Miller: 63-50
Carlisle Cutchin: 11-10
Carlisle Cutchin Total: 267-101
Harlan Hodges (Ohio Valley Conference) (1948–1954)
1948-49 Murray State Racers 13-12 4-5 6th OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
1949-50 Murray State Racers 18-13 5-7 5th OVC Tournament Semifinals, NAIA 1st Round
1950-51 Murray State Racers 21-6 9-3 1st OVC Tournament Champion
1951-52 Murray State Racers 24-10 9-3 3rd OVC Tournament Runner-up, NAIA Runner-up
1952-53 Murray State Racers 18-9 7-3 3rd OVC Tournament Semifinals
1953-54 Murray State Racers 15-16 6-4 2nd OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
1954-55 Murray State Racers 11-15 6-4 2nd OVC Tournament Runner-up
Harlan Hodges: 109-66 39-29
Rex Alexander (Ohio Valley Conference) (1955–1958)
1955-56 Murray State Racers 15-10 6-4 4th OVC Tournament Not Held
1956-57 Murray State Racers 11-13 5-5 3rd OVC Tournament Not Held
1957-58 Murray State Racers 8-16 6-6 4th OVC Tournament Not Held
Rex Alexander: 34-39 17-17
Cal Luther (Ohio Valley Conference) (1959–1974)
1958-59 Murray State Racers 10-15 3-9 7th OVC Tournament Not Held
1959-60 Murray State Racers 12-11 7-4 3rd OVC Tournament Not Held
1960-61 Murray State Racers 13-10 7-5 4th OVC Tournament Not Held
1961-62 Murray State Racers 13-12 5-7 5th OVC Tournament Not Held
1962-63 Murray State Racers 13-9 6-6 4th OVC Tournament Not Held
1963-64 Murray State Racers 16-9 11-3 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 32
1964-65 Murray State Racers 19-7 9-5 3rd OVC Tournament Semifinals
1965-66 Murray State Racers 13-12 8-6 3rd OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
1966-67 Murray State Racers 14-9 8-6 2nd OVC Tournament Runner-up
1967-68 Murray State Racers 16-8 10-4 T-1st OVC Tournament Not Held
1968-69 Murray State Racers 22-6 11-3 T-1st OVC Tournament Not Held, NCAA Round of 32
1969-70 Murray State Racers 17-9 9-5 2nd OVC Tournament Not Held
1970-71 Murray State Racers 19-5 10-4 2nd OVC Tournament Not Held
1971-72 Murray State Racers 15-11 6-8 5th OVC Tournament Not Held
1972-73 Murray State Racers 17-8 9-5 2nd OVC Tournament Not Held
1973-74 Murray State Racers 12-13 6-8 5th OVC Tournament Not Held
1974-75 Murray State Racers 10-15 3-11 7th OVC Tournament Did Not Qualify
Cal Luther: 241-154 125-88
Fred Overton (Ohio Valley Conference) (1975–1978)
1975-76 Murray State Racers 9-17 5-9 7th OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
1976-77 Murray State Racers 17-10 9-5 2nd OVC Tournament Semifinals
1977-78 Murray State Racers 8-17 4-10 7th OVC Tournament Did Not Qualify
Fred Overton: 44-59 21-25
Ron Greene (Ohio Valley Conference) (1978–1985)
1978-79 Murray State Racers 4-22 2-10 7th OVC Tournament Did Not Qualify
1979-80 Murray State Racers 23-8 10-2 T-1st OVC Tournament Runner-up, NIT Quarterfinals
1980-81 Murray State Racers 17-10 10-4 2nd OVC Tournament Runner-up
1981-82 Murray State Racers 20-8 13-3 T-1st OVC Tournament Semifinals, NIT First Round
1982-83 Murray State Racers 21-8 11-3 1st OVC Tournament Semifinals, NIT First Round
1983-84 Murray State Racers 15-13 7-7 4th OVC Tournament Semifinals
1984-85 Murray State Racers 19-9 8-6 4th OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
Ron Greene: 119-78 63-35
Steve Newton (Ohio Valley Conference) (1985–1991)
1985-86 Murray State Racers 17-12 8-6 3rd OVC Tournament Semifinals
1986-87 Murray State Racers 13-15 6-8 6th OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
1987-88 Murray State Racers 22-9 13-1 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 32
1988-89 Murray State Racers 19-11 10-2 T-1st OVC Tournament Semifinals, NIT First Round
1989-90 Murray State Racers 21-9 10-2 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
1990-91 Murray State Racers 24-9 10-2 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
Steve Newton: 116-65 57-21
Scott Edgar (Ohio Valley Conference) (1991–1995)
1991-92 Murray State Racers 17-13 11-3 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
1992-93 Murray State Racers 18-12 11-5 2nd OVC Tournament Runner-up
1993-94 Murray State Racers 23-6 15-1 1st OVC Tournament Runner-up, NIT First Round
1994-95 Murray State Racers 21-9 11-5 T-1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
Scott Edgar: 78-40 48-14
Mark Gottfried (Ohio Valley Conference) (1995–1998)
1995-96 Murray State Racers 19-10 12-4 1st OVC Tournament Runner-up, NIT First Round
1996-97 Murray State Racers 20-10 12-6 T-1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
1997-98 Murray State Racers 29-4 16-2 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
Mark Gottfried: 68-24 40-12
Tevester Anderson (Ohio Valley Conference) (1998–2003)
1998-99 Murray State Racers 27-6 16-2 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
1999-00 Murray State Racers 23-9 14-4 T-1st OVC Tournament Runner-up
2000-01 Murray State Racers 17-12 11-5 2nd OVC Tournament Semifinals
2001-02 Murray State Racers 19-13 10-6 3rd OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
2002-03 Murray State Racers 17-12 9-7 4th OVC Tournament Semifinals
Tevester Anderson: 103-52 50-24
Mick Cronin (Ohio Valley Conference) (2003–2006)
2003-04 Murray State Racers 28-6 14-2 2nd OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
2004-05 Murray State Racers 17-11 11-5 2nd OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
2005-06 Murray State Racers 27-4 17-3 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 64
Mick Cronin: 69-24 42-10
Billy Kennedy (Ohio Valley Conference) (2006–2011)
2006-07 Murray State Racers 16-14 13-7 2nd OVC Tournament Quarterfinals
2007-08 Murray State Racers 18-13 13-7 2nd OVC Tournament Semifinals
2008-09 Murray State Racers 19-12 13-5 2nd OVC Tournament Semifinals
2009-10 Murray State Racers 31-5 17-1 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 32
2010-11 Murray State Racers 23-9 14-4 1st OVC Tournament Runner-up, NIT First Round
Billy Kennedy: 107-53 70-24
Steve Prohm (Ohio Valley Conference) (2011–present)
2011-12 Murray State Racers 31–2 15–1 1st OVC Tournament Champion, NCAA Round of 32
2012-13 Murray State Racers 21-10 10-6 1st (West Division) OVC Tournament Runner-up
2013-14 Murray State Racers 23-11 13-3 1st (West Division) OVC Tournament Semifinals, CIT Champions
Steve Prohm: 75–23 38–10
Total: 1,522–845

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

[48] [49]

KIAC – Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
SIAA – Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
NAIB - National Association for Intercollegiate Basketball
NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (Was the NAIB until 1952 when they picked up other sports)[50]
NIT – National Invitation Tournament
NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association
CIT - Postseason Tournament


Murray State's historic basketball rivalry is with nearby Western Kentucky. The two teams became archrivals during their time together in the Ohio Valley Conference. Although the schools no longer share their conference affiliation (Western Kentucky joined the Sun Belt Conference in 1982 and Conference USA in 2014), the two schools keep the series alive every few years. The two teams have met in basketball 147 times. The Racers' primary in-conference OVC rivalry is now with Austin Peay State University, a school closer geographically than WKU.[51][52][53] In February 2009, ESPN The Magazine highlighted the Austin Peay-Murray State rivalry.[53]


The Racers have had 15 different head coaches in their history. Carlisle Cutchin has the most wins in school history with 267. Steve Newton has won the most OVC Regular Season titles with 4 & the most OVC Tournament titles with 3. There have been 10 different coaches to win the OVC Coach Of The Year award for a combined 15 times.

Coach Years (Total) Overall Record (Pct.) OVC Record (Pct.) 20 Win Seasons (Best) Notes
Carlisle Cutchin 1925–1941, 1948 (17) 267–101 (.725) 4 (27)
Rice Mountjoy 1941–1942 (1) 18–4 (.818) 0 (18)
John Miller 1943–1948 (6) 63–50 (.556) 1 (21)
Harlan Hodges 1948–1954 (6) 109–66 (.623) 39–29 (.573) 2 (24) 1951 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1951 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
Rex Alexander 1955–1958 (3) 34–39 (.465) 17–17 (.500) 0 (15)
Cal Luther 1959–1974 (16) 241–154 (.610) 125–88 (.586) 1 (22) 1964, 1968, 1969 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1964 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
1964 & 1969 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Fred Overton 1975–1978 (4) 44–59 (.427) 21–25 (.456) 0 (17) 1977 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Ron Greene 1978–1985 (7) 119–78 (.604) 63–35 (.642) 3 (23) 1980, 1982, 1983 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1980 & 1983 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Steve Newton 1985–1991 (6) 116–65 (.640) 57–21 (.730) 3 (24) 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1988, 1990, 1991 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
1988 & 1990 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Scott Edgar 1991–1995 (4) 78–40 (.661) 48–14 (.774) 2 (23) 1992, 1994, 1995 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1992 & 1995 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
1992 & 1994 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Mark Gottfried 1995–1998 (3) 68–24 (.739) 40–12 (.769) 2 (29) 1996, 1997, 1998 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1997 & 1998 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
1998 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Tevester Anderson 1998–2003 (5) 103–52 (.664) 50–24 (.675) 2 (27) 1999 & 2000 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
1999 & 2002 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
1999 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Mick Cronin 2003–2006 (3) 69–24 (.741) 42–10 (.807) 2 (28) 2006 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
2004 & 2006 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
2006 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Billy Kennedy 2006–2011 (5) 107–53 (.668) 70–24 (.744) 2 (31) 2010 & 2011 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
2010 OVC Tournament Champions[55]
2010 & 2011 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
Steve Prohm 2011–Present (3) 75–23 (.765) 38–10 (.792) 3 (31) 2013 & 2014 OVC West Division Season Champions
2012 OVC Regular Season Champions[54]
2012 OVC Tournament Champions[54]
2012 OVC Coach Of The Year[56]
2012 Great Alaska Shootout Champions[57]
2014 CIT Postseason Tournament Champions[58]
Total 1925–Present (89) 1,522–845 (.643) 622–321 (.660) 27 (31) 2 OVC West Division Season Championships
23 OVC Regular Season Championships
15 OVC Tournament Championships
15 OVC Coach Of The Year Awards
1 Great Alaska Shootout Championship
1 CIT Postseason Tournament Championship




The Racers have had 13 All-Americans; the first in 1938 and the last in 2012.

Year Player
1938 Etheridge McKeel
1941 Bob Salmons
1943 Joe Fulks
1951 Garrett Beshear
1952 Bennie Purcell
1956 Howie Crittenden
1966 Stew Johnson
1968 Dick Cunningham
1989 Jeff Martin
1992 Popeye Jones
1994 Marcus Brown
2004 Cuthbert Victor
2012 Isaiah Canaan


NBA draftees

The Racers have had seven players selected in the NBA draft.

Marcus Brown scored 2,236 points while at Murray State and retired in 2011 as the Euroleague's all-time leading scorer (2,715 points).
Year Round Pick Overall Pick Player NBA Club
1966 3 1 21 Stew Johnson New York Knicks[60]
1968 2 7 21 Dick Cunningham Phoenix Suns[61]
1970 9 6 142 Claude Virden Seattle SuperSonics[62]
1989 2 4 31 Jeff Martin Los Angeles Clippers[63]
1992 2 14 41 Popeye Jones Houston Rockets[64]
1996 2 17 46 Marcus Brown Portland Trail Blazers[65]
2013 2 4 34 Isaiah Canaan Houston Rockets[66]

Retired numbers

The Racers have retired nine numbers, the first in 1952 and the last in 2010.

Number Player Years Played Year Retired
5 Marcus Brown 1992–96 2010
15 Jeff Martin 1985–89 1989
16 Garrett Beshear 1950–53 1953
19 Howie Crittenden 1952–56 1956
20 Johnny Reagan 1945–48 2003
21 Bennie Purcell 1949–52 1952
26 Joe Fulks 1941–43 2001
30 Paul King 1987–91 1991
54 Popeye Jones 1988–92 1992


Scoring leaders

The Racers have had six players score over 2,000 points and 38 players score over 1,000 points during their careers. Marcus Brown holds the record for the most points in a single game with 45 against Washington on December 16, 1995. Jeff Martin holds the record for the most points in a single season with 806 during the 1987–88 season.[67]

Career scoring leaders

Rank Player Years Played Points
1 Jeff Martin 1985–89 2,484
2 Isaac Spencer 1997–2001 2,248
3 Marcus Brown 1993–96 2,236
4 Popeye Jones 1988–92 2,057
5 Isaiah Canaan 2009–13 2,050
6 Howie Crittenden 1952–56 2,019
7 Lamont Sleets 1979–84 1,902
8 Vincent Rainey 1994–97 1,888
9 Frank Allen 1989–93 1,811
10 Garrett Beshear 1949–53 1,716



NCAA Tournament

The Racers made their 15th NCAA tournament appearance in 2012. They received their highest ranking in the tournament in 2012 with a 6th seed. They have an overall 3–15 record in tournament games. Popeye Jones holds the single game scoring record with 37 points against Michigan State in 1990.[69]

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1964 First Round Loyola (IL) L, 91–101
1969 First Round Marquette L, 62–82
1988 #14 First Round #3 North Carolina State W, 78–75
Second Round #6 Kansas L, 58–61
1990 #16 First Round #1 Michigan State L, 71–75 (OT)
1991 #13 First Round #4 Alabama L, 79–89
1992 #14 First Round #3 Arkansas L, 69–80
1995 #15 First Round #2 North Carolina L, 70–80
1997 #15 First Round #2 Duke L, 68–71
1998 #9 First Round #8 Rhode Island L, 74–97
1999 #13 First Round #4 Ohio State L, 58–72
2002 #14 First Round #3 Georgia L, 68–85
2004 #12 First Round #5 Illinois L, 53–72
2006 #14 First Round #3 North Carolina L, 65–69
2010 #13 First Round #4 Vanderbilt W, 66–65
Second Round #5 Butler L, 52–54
2012 #6 Second Round #11 Colorado State W, 58–41
Third Round #3 Marquette L, 62–53

National Invitation Tournament

In 7 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances, the Racers are 2–7 overall in tournament games.[70]

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1980 First Round Jacksonville W, 53–49
Second Round Alabama W, 70–62
Quarterfinals Illinois L, 63–65
1982 First Round UNLV L, 61–87
1983 First Round Wake Forest L, 80–87
1989 First Round Penn State L, 73–89
1994 First Round Bradley L, 58–66
1996 First Round Missouri L, 85–89
2011 #6 First Round #3 Missouri State L, 76–89 Postseason Tournament

The Racers appeared in the 2014 Postseason Tournament (CIT). They posted a 5–0 record to be 2014 CIT champions.

Year Round Opponent Result
2014 First Round Missouri State W, 66–63
Second Round Omaha W, 86–62
Quarterfinals Towson W, 85–73
Semifinals Pacific W, 98–75
Finals Yale W, 65–57


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  19. ^ "Murray State 56 Notre Dame 54". The New York Times. 8 December 1981. 
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  60. ^ "1966 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  61. ^ "1968 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  62. ^ "1970 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  63. ^ "1989 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  64. ^ "1992 NBA Draft". Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  65. ^ "1996 NBA Draft". Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  66. ^ "Isaiah Canaan 2013 NBA Draft Profile". Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  67. ^ 2012-13 Murray State Racers Men's Basketball Media Guide.  
  68. ^ 2012-13 Murray State Racers Men's Basketball Media Guide.  
  69. ^ "Murray State Racers Tournament History".  
  70. ^ "National Invitation Tournament History: Postseason All-Time Participants".  


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