When Matt Murrer and his wife, Sarah, heard the head coaching position for Benedictine basketball had opened up, there wasn’t much hesitation to go around.
“When we found out the Benedictine job opened up and I told her, she was like ‘That’s one you’ve got to go for.’ She’s been on board since we found out the job was open,” said Murrer, a 2003 Benedictine alumnus and 1,000-point scorer who captained the Cadets to a VISAA title in ‘03.
Sarah is a Saint Gertrude alumna from the Class of 2005. And the two are set to return to their roots after Benedictine announced on Monday it has hired Murrer, the president and owner of local youth sports club RockIt Sports, to lead its basketball program.
“I’m excited, I’m pumped, it’s a great opportunity and I’m just thankful to be in this position,” Murrer said.
“It’s a place that’s done a lot for me, and I’m just grateful to get the opportunity to see it come full circle, be a part of the program and hopefully have a positive impact on the student body. ... It’s a dream come true.”
Murrer replaces Mark Royster, who stepped down at the beginning of the month. Murrer played in college at VMI and professionally in Portugal for a year before starting his own basketball training business, Murrer22 Basketball.
Murrer said his position at RockIt Sports does mean he’s got a “pretty good eye on the talent out there, especially in the Richmond area.” It helps that he’s been around local youth sports so much but said the two positions don’t directly correlate in terms of recruiting and scouting.
Murrer was a 6-foot-7 small forward in his playing days. He played varsity as a sophomore, and described himself as a role player that year and his junior season. His senior year, the Cadets had Vernon Hamilton, a future Clemson Tiger and pro player; Bambale Osby, a future New Mexico and Maryland player who played professionally overseas; Reid Augst, who went to UNC Asheville; Chris Harris, who went to Navy; and Murrer. Their five starters were all Division I basketball players.
Murrer could shoot from 3-point range and was “decent” off the dribble drive but didn’t feature “anything fancy,” he said. He scored points in transition, ran the floor, finished around the rim and played tough defense.
“I was surrounded by so many good players,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not gonna get you 30 points. I’ll get you 14 (points) and eight (rebounds) type of guy.”
Murrer wants his teams to play free and push the pace, but their style will depend on their personnel, he said. He’ll stress defense a lot, and said everything has to start on that end of the floor.
Benedictine’s new McMurtrie-Reynolds Pavilion was finished last year and housed some games in the winter. But the multi-million dollar facility has yet to truly open its doors to fans because of the pandemic. Murrer said he can’t wait to see it packed with Cadets.
“It’s got to be one of the nicest facilities on the East Coast,” he said. “Last year with COVID they weren’t able to pack the place out. I’m just looking forward to seeing people in there, it’s a great place for our alumni, parents, student body and players.”
Matt and Sarah have two children, 3-year-old Willow and 10-month-old Rush.
“We’re excited. My wife, she’s the best. Just the biggest supporter,” he said. “We’re just pumped to be a part of the family and hopefully have a positive impact.”