Basketball Wiki
Murray State Racers
Murray State Racers.png
School Name: Murray State University
Location: Murray, Kentucky
Arena: CFSB Center
Capacity: 8,602
Conference: Ohio Valley
Head coach: Matt McMahon

Murray State University is the home of the Murray State Racers. They participate in the NCAA's Division I, in the Ohio Valley Conference. 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. The current coach is Matt McMahon, who is serving in his 6th year. Murray State has made 14 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2010. Twice the Racers have knocked off a higher seed and advanced to the second round of the tournament. 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 Butler in the second round.


Murray State's first basketball venues were Lovett Auditorium from 1926–1950, which had a capacity of 1,500, and Carr Health Building from 1950–1954, 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)

Alexander era (1955-1958)

Luther era (1959-1974)

Overton era (1975-1978)

Greene era (1978-1985)

Newton era (1985-1991)

In Steve Newton's second season, in 1987-88, the team finished with a 13-15 record.[13] This marked the last time the Racers had a losing season; only Arizona, Kansas, and Syracuse hold longer streaks.[1][14]

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. 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 Racer history 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)

File:Mark Gottfried.jpg

Mark Gottfried coached Murray State from 1995 to 1998.

Former Alabama head basketball coach Mark Gottfried coached the Racers to three Ohio Valley Conference Championships, all three years he coached there, the only OVC coach to accomplish such a mark.[15]

Anderson era (1998-2003)

Cronin era (2003-2006)

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.

Kennedy era (2006-2011)

After serving one season as an assistant at Miami, Kennedy was named Murray State's 14th men's basketball coach in 2006, taking over after Mick Cronin departed for Cincinnati.

Taking over a team with only one returning starter, he led the Racers to a 16-14 season and second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference. His next two squads won 18 and 19 games, again placing second in the conference regular-season standings, and advanced as far as the OVC tournament semifinals.

His fourth team at Murray State won more games than any in school history, reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament. The 13th-seeded Racers beat fourth-seed Vanderbilt University 66-65 in the first round in the West Regional at San Jose, California–only the third NCAA Tournament win in school history. They then lost a close second-round contest against fifth-seeded Butler University in the 54-52. During the season, the Racers won a school record 17 games in a row before losing 70-65 at Morehead State University on February 25, 2010. The Racers finished the season with a 31-5 record, including a 17-1 conference mark, and avenged their lone league loss with a 62-51 win over Morehead State in the OVC tournament championship game.

Kennedy was named 2010 OVC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (District 19) coach of the year.

In 2010-11, Kennedy's Racers repeated as OVC regular-season champions but fell in the conference tournament semifinals. As OVC regular-season champions, Murray State earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament where it lost 89-76 at Missouri State to finish with a 23-9 season record. Kennedy was again selected OVC coach of the year.

Prohm era (2011-2015)

Prohm was named Murray State's 15th head coach on May 23, 2011, after Kennedy left for Texas A&M. In his first season, he led the Racers to their third straight Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title, a school record-tying 31 wins (including a school-best 23–0 start), a top-10 national ranking and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

McMahon era (2015-present)

At Murray State under Prohm, he helped guide the Racers to 104 victories in four years, including appearances in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the 2015 National Invitation Tournament, and the 2014 Postseason Tournament, where the Racers won the tournament championship.

In 2012, and ranked McMahon as one of college basketball's best assistant coaches, while in 2015 he was tabbed as one of "9 Under-the-Radar Coaches to Watch" by

McMahon was hired as an assistant to Eric Konkol at Louisiana Tech on May 27, 2015. On June 10, 2015, McMahon was hired as head coach of Murray State. He replaced Prohm, who left to take the head coach position at Iowa State University.

"I am so excited to know that Coach McMahon will be returning to Murray State to lead the Racers," Murray State athletic director Allen Ward said. "After watching him for four years, I'm convinced he's the right man for the job. He's an outstanding coach, nationally recognized as one of the top assistants in the country, with a tremendous upside. Matt has the talent and integrity to continue the momentum we've built, put his own stamp on the program, and meet the expectations that come with being the head coach at Murray State."

McMahon's third Racer team posted a 26–6 record, winning Ohio Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championships. They were awarded a 12 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, where they fell in the first round to West Virginia, 85–68. After the season, he was named National Association of Basketball Coaches District 19 Coach of the Year.

In his fourth year with the Racers he led future No. 2 NBA Draft pick Ja Morant and his teammates to their second straight OVC title, after sharing the regular season title with Belmont. The team upset Markus Howard and Marquette in the Round of 64, before falling to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament. The team would finish the season with a 28-5 overall record, while going 16-2 in conference play.

On April 5, 2019, McMahon was awarded a 4 year contract extension. This will keep him at Murray State through the 2022-23 season. McMahon's salary was increased from, $300,000 a year to $500,000 a year.


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, the two schools keep the series alive every few years. The two teams have met in basketball 147 times. The Racer's primary in-conference OVC rivalry is now with Austin Peay State University.[16][17][18]


Coach[9] Years Overall Ohio Valley Notes
Carlisle Cutchin 1925–1941, 1948 267-101 -
Rice Mountjoy 1942 18-4 -
John Miller 1942–1948 63-50 -
Harlan Hodges 1948–1954 109-66 39-29 1951 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Rex Alexander 1955–1958 45-54 21-19
Cal Luther 1959–1974 241-154 125-88 1964 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Fred Overton 1975–1978 44-59 21-25
Ron Greene 1978–1985 119-76 63-35
Steve Newton 1985–1991 116-65 57-21 1988, 1990, 1991 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Scott Edgar 1992–1995 78-40 48-14 1992 & 1995 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Mark Gottfried 1995–1998 64-24 40-12 1997 & 1998 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Tevester Anderson 1998–2003 103-52 50-24 1999 & 2002 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Mick Cronin 2003–2006 69-24 42-10 2004 & 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions[19]
Billy Kennedy 2006–2011 84-44 56-20 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions

2011 Regular Season Champs[19]

Steve Prohm 2011–2015 104–29 54–10 2012 & 2015 OVC Regular Season Champions
2012 OVC Tournament Champions
2014 CIT Postseason Tournament Champions
Matt McMahon 2015–present 110–51 65–21 2018 OVC Regular Season & Tournament Champions
2019 OVC Regular Season Co-Champions
2019 OVC Tournament Champions


NBA Draftees

File:Marcus Brown Euroleague Final Four 2005.JPG

Marcus Brown was an important player for the Racers.

Year Round Pick Overall Pick Player NBA Club
1966 3 1 21 Stew Johnson New York Knicks[20]
1968 2 7 21 Dick Cunningham Phoenix Suns[21]
1970 9 6 142 Claude Virden Seattle SuperSonics[22]
1989 2 4 31 Jeff Martin Los Angeles Clippers[23]
1992 2 14 41 Popeye Jones Houston Rockets[24]
1996 2 17 46 Marcus Brown Portland Trail Blazers[25]
2013 2 4 34 Isaiah Canaan Houston Rockets[26]
2015 1 14 14 Cameron Payne Oklahoma City Thunder[27]
2019 1 2 2 Ja Morant Memphis Grizzlies[28]

Retired numbers

Number Player Years
3 Isaiah Canaan 2009–13
5 Marcus Brown 1992–96
12 Ja Morant 2017–19
15 Jeff Martin 1985–89
16 Garrett Beshear 1950–53
19 Howie Crittendon 1952–56
20 Johnny Reagan 1945–48
21 Bennie Purcell 1949–52
26 Joe Fulks 1941–43
30 Paul King 1987–91
54 Popeye Jones 1988–92

Current roster

# Name Height Weight (lbs.) Position Class Hometown Previous Team(s)[29]
0 Isaac Miles 6'2" 205 G Sr. Kansas City, MO Bishop Miege HS
1 B.J. Jenkins 6'0" 180 G Sr. Virginia Beach, VA Green Run HS
2 Edward Daniel 6'7" 220 F So. Birmingham, AL Woodlawn HS
3 Isaiah Canaan 6'0" 175 G So. Biloxi, MS Biloxi HS
4 LaTreze Mushatt 6'5" 210 G Jr. Saginaw, MI Saginaw Arthur Hill High School
10 Jordan Burge 5'11" 170 G So. Mayfield, KY Northside Baptist HS
11 Donte Poole 6'3" 185 G Jr. Las Vegas, NV Mojave High School
12 Shawn Jackson 6'9" 230 C Fr. Live Oak, FL Melody Christian Academy
13 Brandon Garrett 6'9" 200 F Jr. Phoenix, AZ Paradise Valley
14 Picasso Simmons 6'0" 170 G Sr. Gallatin, TN Lee Academy
22 Jeffery McClain 6'6" 230 F Sr. Hickman, KY Fulton County HS
Three Rivers CC
24 Jeff Reese 6'4" 180 F JR. Laurel Hill, FL Laurel Hill High School
32 Chris Griffin 6'7" 205 F FR. Tallahassee, FL Leon High School
33 Jewuan Long 6'1" 180 G So. Jackson, TN Liberty Tech HS
42 Ivan Aska 6'7" 230 F So. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Boyd H. Anderson HS


NCAA Tournament

Murray State has appeared in 17 NCAA tournaments. The Racers have an overall 4-17 record in tournament games. Popeye Jones holds the Murray State single-tournament scoring record with 37 points in 1990.[30]

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
2018 #12 First Round #5 West Virginia L, 85–68
2019 #12 First Round #5 Marquette W, 83–64
Second Round #4 Florida State L, 90–62

National Invitation Tournament

In seven National Invitation Tournament appearances, Murray State is 2–7 overall in tournament games.[31]

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 Missouri State L, 76–89

See Also

External Links

  • 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bradley 2009, p. 99
  • 2.0 2.1 "CFSB Center". Murray State Racers. Murray State University. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  • "Racer Arena". Murray State Racers. Murray State University. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  • Teague, Hawkins (28 September 2010). "RSEC to be renamed CFSB Center". Murray Ledger & Times. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  • "Weber State's Men's Basketball Program Named in the Top-100 Greatest of All-Time". Weber State Wildcats. Weber State University. 3 February 2005. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  • Shelton, Harold; Nick Loucks; Chris Fallica (July 23, 2008). "Counting down the most prestigious programs since 1984-85 (Nos. 21–30)". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  • 7.0 7.1 "Head Coaches Out At Murray". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press (Google News Archive): p. 1. 29 January 1941.,913702&dq=rice+mountjoy+danville&hl=en. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  • Template:Cite book
  • 9.0 9.1 9.2 Template:Cite book
  • 10.0 10.1 Template:Cite book
  • "Joe Fulks Bio". NBA. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  • 12.0 12.1 "Trailing World Sport Events". The Southeast Missourian (Google News Archive): p. 5. 16 December 1942.,410423&dq=rice+mountjoy+murray+state&hl=en. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  • Template:Cite book
  • "Capel sees brighter days ahead for OU". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). 25 May 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  • "Mark Gottfried". 2002-05-02. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  • 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 Template:Cite book
  • "1966 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "1968 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "1970 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "1989 NBA Draft". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "1992 NBA Draft". Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  • "1996 NBA Draft". Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  • "2013 NBA Draft". Retrieved April 29, 2020. 
  • "2015 NBA Draft". Retrieved April 29, 2020. 
  • "2019 NBA Draft". Retrieved April 29, 2020. 
  • "Murray State Racers Roster - 2009-10". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "Murray State Racers Tournament History". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  • "National Invitation Tournament History: Postseason All-Time Participants". National Invitation Tournament. CBS Interactive. 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010.