UAPB women’s hoops adds Freddie Murray as Associate Head Coach

Courtesy of Arkansas Pine Bluff Athletics

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff women’s basketball head coach Erica Leak announced the addition of Freddie Murray as the Golden Lion’s newest Associate Head Coach, the program announced on Friday.

Murray, who has a 20-plus-year career in coaching college basketball, brings a resume to the UAPB office that indicates success at various game levels.  

Leak expressed her excitement about the addition, saying, “On behalf of the entire UAPB women’s basketball program, I am thrilled to welcome Freddie Murray to our coaching staff. Murray’s expertise and passion for the game will undoubtedly take our team to new heights. We are excited to have him join our Golden Lions family and look forward to his incredible impact on our players both on and off the court.”

Murray joins the Golden Lions after serving as an assistant coach at Alabama A&M for one year.

Before his arrival in Huntsville, Murray spent eight transformative seasons at Grambling State University, where he recently held the position of head coach for the Tigers. His unwavering commitment to excellence resulted in his teams consistently finishing in the top five in defense within the conference on five separate occasions.

Under Murray’s leadership, Grambling State experienced unforgettable triumphs. In 2018, he steered the Tigers to an extraordinary Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament championship, propelling them to the NCAA Tournament where they valiantly faced No. 2 Baylor. The previous year, Murray guided the program to a share of the SWAC regular season title, a feat not accomplished since 2000. During the same year, the Tigers made history by securing the SWAC’s first-ever postseason tournament victory, triumphing over Ole Miss in a gripping 78-75 win in the WNIT.

Adding to the team’s accolades, Grambling State emerged victorious against formidable opponents, Indiana and Loyola Marymount, during the Puerto Rico Classic. This remarkable season also witnessed the spotlight shining on the team when Shakyla Hill achieved the extraordinary milestone of recording a quadruple-double, becoming only the fourth NCAA Division I women’s basketball player to achieve such an incredible feat. Hill’s extraordinary career, which included winning SWAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, garnered attention from basketball legend LeBron James himself. Other notable players coached by Murray include Monisha Neal, Justice Coleman, and Alexus Holt, all of whom left an indelible mark on the court and achieved impressive individual accomplishments.

Murray’s coaching journey extends beyond Grambling State. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the assistant women’s basketball coach at Florida A&M University, contributing to their best record in 2010, finishing the season with an impressive 22-8. During his tenure, Murray nurtured players like Antonia Bennett and Jasmine Grice, who both earned MEAC Player of the Year honors and went on to achieve successful professional careers overseas.

Prior to his time at Florida A&M, Murray held the position of assistant coach at North Carolina A&T State University on two occasions, from 2003 to 2005 and again from 2007 to 2010. His return to North Carolina A&T yielded tremendous success, with the Lady Aggies securing three MEAC Regular Season Championships and making appearances in the NCAA and WNIT Tournaments. During the 2009-10 season, Murray’s coaching prowess propelled the team to the WNIT Sweet Sixteen, a historic achievement for an HBCU women’s team. Notably, the Lady Aggies broke their school record for most wins in a season in 2008-09, with 26 victories. Murray’s coaching acumen fostered the growth of exceptional talents such as Ta’Wuana Cook, Lamona Smalley, and Brittanie Taylor-James, who earned accolades for their outstanding performances.

Before his time at North Carolina A&T, Murray left his mark as an assistant coach at McNeese State University, where he later assumed the role of interim head coach midway through the 2006-2007 season. His dedication and expertise were evident as he contributed to the team’s progress and success.

Murray’s coaching journey began at his alma mater, Jackson State University, where he first served as a volunteer assistant with the men’s program in 1999. He later transitioned to graduate assistant coach from 2001 to 2003, guiding the Lady Tigers to a remarkable Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season title in 2003 and a notable 23-win season. During this time, Murray’s guidance propelled Amie Williams to become the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference player while helping Shelita Burns with back-to-back SWAC Player of the Year honors in both her junior and senior seasons.

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Jackson State University. 

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