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Dan Murray has always seemed a coach who could squeeze the most success out of his teams' talent.
Talent, that won't be in short supply at Murray's next stop.
Murray, girls basketball coach at Lisle the last three seasons and Immaculate Conception prior to that, has accepted the position at defending Class 4A champion Marian Catholic.
Murray takes over for Annie Byrne, who resigned earlier this summer to become the director of operations at Legends Sportsplex in Bourbonnais. Murray interviewed for the position last Wednesday and was informed he got the job days later.
"It's been a whirlwind," said Murray, who just met with his new players' parents Wednesday night. "It goes without saying the tradition (Marian) has had. Traditionally it's one of the top programs in the state. It's an unbelievable opportunity, and I'm very honored to be selected by their administration."
Lisle went 61-27 in three seasons under Murray, including a 23-6 record last winter highlighted by an Interstate Eight Conference championship. Murray is the all-time win leader at IC and guided the Knights to a 29-4 record and sectional final appearance in 2010, his 10th and final season in Elmhurst. All totaled Murray won three regional titles and had four 20-win seasons at IC.
Murray spoke to the difficulty leaving Lisle. Prior to the Marian position opening up, he said he was prepared to settle down in Lisle with his wife and young family.
"Honestly, my time at Lisle has been three of the best years of my life," Murray said. "They were such good kids. They did everything I asked. I loved working with them. It's incredibly difficult to say goodbye to those kids. But at the same time I couldn't live with the what-if of not pursuing this opportunity."
Marian, where Murray will be a member of the physical education staff, has averaged 28 wins since the 2001-2002 season. Last year the Spartans went 33-1, avenging their only loss with a memorable Class 4A final win over Rolling Meadows.
And the cupboard is far from bare in Chicago Heights.
Marian returns DePaul recruit Ashton Millender, arguably the top senior in the state. Point guard Teniya Page is perhaps the state's top junior, and Kauai Bradley, the hero of the Rolling Meadows win, is another talented junior.