Murray State History: football Athletics and Many More!

Jeremy Caroll

The Murray State Racers football team competes in American football. The Racers participate in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).

After leaving the OVC in July 2022, Murray State expects to stay in the OVC for football in 2022 before joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2023.


Denver Johnson was named as head coach of the Racers ahead of the 1997 season. Johnson had previously worked as an offensive line coach for the Oklahoma Sooners during the 1996 season. Due to a late hiring process and the loss of numerous important Murray State players from the previous season, the Racers were not anticipated to do well under Johnson’s first year as head coach. The Racers exceeded expectations by earning a record of 7–4 and 5–2 in OVC play in Johnson’s first season. The four losses included a hard-fought two-point overtime setback against Western Kentucky in the Battle for the Red Belt rivalry game.murray state football

In 1998, the Racers finished 7–4 overall and 5–2 in Ohio Valley Conference play, including a win over the rival Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the Battle for the Red Belt and a victory over the Southern Illinois Salukis. The lone home defeat of the season was a 44–46 loss to Tennessee State on November 14 in the last game of conference play. The Racers would have won the 1999 OVC title had it not been for the defeat. At the conclusion of the game, Tennessee State tore down Murray State’s home field goalposts at Roy Stewart Stadium and brought the goalposts back to Tennessee State.

The 1999 season concluded in a similar way as Tennessee State once again denied the Racers of a conference championship by barely beating the Racers in the last game of conference play in the 1999 season. The Racers fell to Tennessee State on the road in Nashville by a score of 41–42. Murray State concluded the 1999 season with an overall record of 7–4 and an OVC record of 5–2 once again. The Racers were unbeaten at home in the 1999 season. After three seasons at Murray State, Johnson was appointed in January 2000 as the new head coach of the Illinois State Redbirds. In his three years at Murray State, Denver Johnson’s overall record as head coach was 21–12. Johnson’s .636 winning percentage is the seventh greatest all-time among Murray State head football coaches.

READ MORE: Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022: The Dates Are Revealed of 2022!

After Johnson began coaching at Illinois State, Johnson stated that a former assistant under him at Murray State delivered a copy of his playbook from Murray State to Northern Illinois University before a game between Northern Illinois and Illinois State on September 9, 2000. The game, a 52–0 loss, was the worst defeat for Illinois State in 40 years. Johnson stated that the assistant was disgruntled he was not invited to come to Illinois State after Johnson departed Murray State. Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak denied possessing the Murray State playbook

Success in Coaching in the Future

The Murray State football program has become a steppingstone to major-college coaching success. Six former Murray State coaches have gone on to head coaching positions at BCS schools.

murray state football

It was from 1978 to 1980 that the Racers were led by Mike Gottfried as their head coach. In 1979, he received the OVC Coach of the Year award for his efforts. After coaching the Cincinnati Bearcats, Kansas Jayhawks, and Pittsburgh Panthers, Gottfried retired from the coaching profession.
Ron Zook served as Murray State’s secondary coach from 1978 to 1980 under Gottfried. When he left Illinois in 2011, Zook became the head coach of both the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles.

Beamer was the Racers’ head coach from 1981 to 1986. The Virginia Tech football team became a national powerhouse when Beamer left Murray State in the early 1990s.

During the 1981 season, Ralph Friedgen worked as an assistant coach for Frank Beamer at Murray State. From 2001 through 2010, Friedgen served as Maryland’s head coach.

The Murray State assistant football coach Mike O’Cain served from 1981 to 1984 under the guidance of Frank Beamer. From 1993 through 1999, O’Cain served as the head coach of North Carolina State.

READ MORE: USC Football Championship: Who Is the Best USC Football Player?

He served as the Racers’ head coach from 1993 to 1996. While coaching the Racers, he was named the 1996 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year and the 1995 and 1996 OVC Coach of the Year. Nutt went on to win three SEC championships as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks before taking over as the head coach at Ole Miss in 2008. Nutt led Ole Miss to back-to-back Cotton Bowl Classic victories in his first two years as head coach.

Murray State University

The University of Murray, Kentucky (UMK), or MSU (MSU), is a public institution of higher education. Extended campuses in Paducah, Hopkinsville, and Madisonville offer upper-level and graduate courses in addition to Murray State’s main campus in Calloway County southern Kentucky.


On the south side of campus, a vast grassy and tree-lined area is home to Murray State’s oldest and most distinctive buildings. As 16th Street runs west to east, Lovett Auditorium sits to the north, and Wilson Hall sits to the south, this area of campus is referred to as the Quad.

The Wrather West Kentucky Museum is located in the southwest corner of the Quad. Before it became a museum, it was known as the Administration Building and subsequently as Wrather Hall. On October 15, 1923, the ground was broken for Wrather, and it has been in use ever since. Because of its huge auditorium, the building is regularly used for lectures and gatherings. It was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975murray state football

On the west side of the Quad are Faculty Hall, Wells Hall, and the Business Building Quadrangle’s eastern side are occupied by Lowry Center, Pogue Library, and Price Doyle Fine Arts Center While it may be the largest structure on campus at 11 stories, the Doyle Fine Arts Center also houses a number of student-created facilities, including the Robert E. Johnson Theatre, Clara Eagle Art Gallery, WKMS-FM, and a tv studio.

The Sparks of History
Sparks Hall is located just south of the Quad. Located in the heart of campus, Sparks Hall is home to the offices of student financial aid, admissions and registration, accounting and financial services, vice president for administrative services, Center for Continuing Education, and Academic Outreach, human resources, and university communications. [citation needed]

READ MORE: Spin Bowlers: What Is Spinning, and Who Are the Top Ten Players of All Time?

Located just south of the Quadrangle and west of Sparks Hall, Oakhurst is the official house of the president of Indiana University. The mansion, once known as Edgewood, was under construction from 1917 through 1918. Wells built the house with his and her husband, Dr. Rainey T. In June 1936, the Board of Regents bought the house from Rainey T. Wells. In anticipation of James H. Richmond’s arrival, the mansion was renovated and given the new name Oakhurst.

Leave a Comment