This is something I have been wanting to write about for a long time, and I mean a really long time.
This past season was one of the best that our athletic department has had in a very long time, from start to finish. All team sports went to the postseason, we collected a lot of hardware from tournaments, records were broken, and champions were crowned. On top of that, the facilities that our teams play in continue to be improved and revamped, bringing them up to standards that a Championship team would call home. Lion student athletes have some of the highest graduation rates and grade point averages in the country, and Commerce, Texas is the place to be during weekend sporting events. So much of that is owed to a very special administrator, and overall just a great guy, athletic director Tim McMurray.
I could spend the next 5 hours talking about what all he has done to improve our athletic department in every way, shape, and form. I could tell you about how he came in after the successful tenure of Ryan Ivey and built on that success, but multiplied it and made it his own success. I could go on and on.
Many of our younger readers do not remember the time when Memorial Stadium was a grass facility with one side, a scoreboard older than the hills, no reserved seating, no big time corporate sponsors, and a chain link fence around it. This athletic department was in dire need of attention, because it was on life support. The Fieldhouse was not the unique building it once was, but it was a laughing stock. Not to mention that pretty much every sport except Soccer and Men’s Basketball was mediocre.
Now, can now celebrate a good time at Memorial stadium, and call it by it’s new moniker, The Hawk. We have so much to be proud of because of the tireless work that our AD puts in. He loves this school, and because of that, we can’t but help love him too. There is one important thing to remember though.
Even our coaches, as great as they are, have offseasons. Athletic Directors do not. The more success an athletic department has, the more the fans expect bigger and better facilities, wins, and awards. It can get lonely up there at the top for the guy who is running it.
Yet, not one time have I ever seen Tim without a smile on his face after a win or his arm around a coach or group of players after a big win. This is a man who is dedicated to the success of our Lion student athletes, and to the enjoyment of their success by Lion fans, parents, and alums. We now have a best in class athletic department because we have a best in class athletic director.
If someone was to ask me what are some things that stand out to me about my relationship with Tim, and this site’s relationship with him, I will use these two examples. First when two of our Football players, Jay Bias and Xavier Morris were shot this past spring break in Florida, he rushed down to Florida to be with them. I remember when I saw him on TV being interviewed, the look of concern on his face and the way he spoke was almost like these two players were his own children, not just athletes that played for the football team.
Finally, even though I write for this blog, along with Russ and B.Minor (who belongs in the hall of fame, by the way for you voters out there), we are just 3 alums who love our school and love writing about it. We are pretty inconsequential guys. That said, when the AD takes time to text you a personal message and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Thanksgiving, and tells us what an asset we are to Lion Nation, and goes out of his way to make us feel appreciated, shakes hands and gets to know our friends and family, you know you have someone who is truly best in class.
So from all of us at The Wire and in Lion Nation, this is for you, Tim McMurray, a best in class athletic director.
Oh, and certainly, a best in class person.