Josh Murray has no history with Burris or its boys soccer team, so the program’s head-coach opening wasn’t on his radar – until a player’s mother, who happened to be one of his co-workers, alerted him to it.
That led to the 2011 Warren Central graduate applying for the job vacated by Kameron McBride, and after Murray aced two interviews with athletic director Chad Wlodarek, he got the job.
He can thank Laura Alvarado, whose son Max is one of the Owls’ top returning players. Murray worked with her in the Delaware County Clerk’s Office.
Because he has no background with Burris, Murray is trying to get up to speed quickly. He was hired earlier this week, but Thursday was his first official day. He held a conditioning workout that evening, and he expects to begin official practice late next week when many of his players return from vacation.
“It’s going to be difficult at first, but I’m going to take it day-by-day,” Murray said. “I just need to stay on top of things, learn names and learn the skills of my players.”
Murray has coached with the Indy Force club program of the EastSide Soccer Association, but he’s looking forward to coaching varsity soccer.
Wlodarek envisions a family aspect for the entire athletic program, with aspiring athletes in elementary school knowing the middle school kids and the middle schoolers knowing the varsity players. So when Murray spoke in his interview of building a strong foundation beyond the varsity and junior varsity squads, Wlodarek knew he had found his man.
“When he talked about his philosophy and developing a program, he spoke about developing the middle school athletes and helping the younger kids along,” Wlodarek said. “That tied into my family mentality.
“His vision for the job fit right into that. He’s a very passionate young man.”
Murray will have his work cut out for him in leading a team which went 14-1-1 last season but lost 12 seniors. He’ll look to build around a core that includes Alvarado, Jared Suanes and Ricky Tellez.
“I want to set the bar high for a first-year coach,” Murray said, “but if we have a strong base and put forth a lot of effort, we can get there.”
Contact sports features writer Ryan O’Gara at (765) 213-5829. Follow him on Twitter @RyanOGaraTSP.