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Former Kings, Blues coach Andy Murray lands head coaching job at Western Michigan University

Jul 25, 2011, 8:38 PM EDT

Andy Murray AP

The last we’ve heard from Andy Murray, he was fired by the St. Louis Blues after 40 games of the 2009-2010 season. That year, Murray had a record of 17-17-6 and after coming off a season that saw the Blues rally to make the playoffs, the disappointment and frustration with the younger players finally had him sent out of town.

After a coaching career that saw him spend six years with the L.A. Kings and parts of four seasons with the Blues, Murray is taking his coaching style and big time NHL name to the college ranks and will be accepting the head coaching job at Western Michigan. The Broncos made the NCAA Tournament last season under Jeff Blashill, but Blashill left WMU to take a job as an assistant coach with Detroit and become part of Mike Babcock’s staff.

At Western Michigan, Murray will look to keep the positive momentum going as the Broncos’ NCAA Tourney appearance last season was the school’s first since the 1995-1996 season. With that setting the table for Murray’s arrival in Kalamazoo, Murray’s big name will be a boon for them in recruiting and may potentially help sell them as a team to move to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference that starts play in 2013-2014.

That new conference will feature schools jumping ship from both the WCHA and CCHA in North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Denver, Colorado College,  Miami University, and Minnesota-Duluth. With Notre Dame potentially also jumping to that conference out of the CCHA, to keep an even number of teams, Western Michigan could join them. Having a big name coach and a program on the rise would make WMU a very attractive option.

As it is, Murray’s got success to build on at WMU and he’ll need to keep the good things going. This isn’t Murray’s first dalliance with college hockey as he was a candidate for the RPI head coaching job back in 2006 that eventually went to Seth Appert. Instead of landing at RPI, Murray took the head coaching job with the Blues. That wasn’t such a bad consolation prize for him in the end. Seeing pro coaches move on to college is rare to see and how Murray handles things at Western Michigan will be worth watching.

  1. geshtahl - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    I think that Murray really got screwed by the Blues’ players. They weren’t happy and they decided to lay down. This idea that the Coach should be the first to go when there is a tough time is both stupid and obsolete. Look at Nashville, sure they have yet to win the cup, but they have stuck with Barry Trotz for 13 years. In that time they have risen to become contenders and sunk back down into rebuilding. For most clubs this is the way of the world. Success ebbs and flows. I say give the coach a longer leash than 4 or 5 years.

  2. Western Express Editorial Team - Jul 26, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    You can watch Andy Murray’s introductory press conference LIVE at 12:00 PM ET (NOON) today at: http://www.WOWWESTERN.com

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