Texas Tech junior Kennedy Kithuka named 2012 National Athlete of the Year for cross country
Texas Tech junior Kennedy Kithuka breaks course record to win national championship
Texas Tech junior finishes first overall at NCAA Mountain Region meet
Texas Tech men's and women's squads look to advance to nationals
Texas Tech junior Kennedy Kithuka wins Big 12 Cross Country championship
Kithuka prepares for NCAA Cross Country Championships following dominating 2012 season
Texas Tech Cross Country prepares for the Kansas Rim Rock Classic
Jon Murray enters his eighth season as an assistant track and field coach and head cross country coach. Under his guidance the distance running program at Texas Tech has reached a pinnacle amongst the Big 12 while consistently contending on the national level as well.
Murray has coached two athletes to individual NCAA Championships during his tenure in Lubbock while guiding the Lady Raider program to three consecutive Big 12 Championships from 2008-10.
Most recently, Kennedy Kithuka became the first Red Raider in school history to capture an individual Big 12 Championship before winning the NCAA Championship in the midst of a perfect season. Kithuka was named the NCAA Male Athlete of the year after winning seven consecutive meets during the 2012 season.
Murray also guided Lady Raider Sally Kipyego to three NCAA Cross Country Championships and six NCAA Track and Field Championships during her unprecedented career in which she became the most decorated Texas Tech athlete in school history.
A three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year, Murray has developed Texas Tech into a regular contender within the conference. The Murray Era of Texas Tech cross country is highlighted by three-consecutive Big 12 Women's Championships from 2008-10. The 2009 and 2010 conference titles earned Murray Women's Coach of the Year honors.
During the 2009 season, Texas Tech great Sally Kipyego won her ninth NCAA title in the indoor 5000M becoming only the second female in NCAA history to win nine individual titles. The success was shared at the Big 12 Indoor Championships as the distance medley relay and Lillian Badaru brought home titles. Kipyego became the most decorated athlete in the Big 12 as she won her 14th Big 12 title.
The cross country squad continued a banner year for Murray as it successfully defended its Big 12 title and finished its best ever at the national meet. The fourth place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships marks the first time the program has brought back a trophy.
During the 2008 season new heights were reached by Murray's cross country and track runners. The 2008 women's cross country squad won the program's first Big 12 and Mountain Regional Championship. He coached Sally Kipyego to her third-straight NCAA, Mountain Regional and Big 12 Champion. She also was honored for the third-straight time as the Honda Award winner for cross country. Lillian Badaru earned her first All-American honor during the season for cross country as well.
He also coached Kipyego to the 5,000m NCAA Indoor championship, 5,000M NCAA Outdoor championship and All-American honors in the 1500M during the 2008 season. He guided Irene Kimayio to a Big 12 Championship in the 3K steeplechase and All-American honors as well. Gilbert Limo was a national qualifier in the 3K steeplechase as was Gladys Kipsang in the 800M.
While at Tech he has coached student-athletes to 20 All-American honors and 24 Big 12 titles.
Murray came to Tech after spending 14 years as head coach of the Abilene Christian cross country program, five years as the head track & field coach and nine years as the assistant track and field coach. Track and field coach, Wes Kittley was responsible for hiring Murray for the ACU staff during his tenure as head coach. In his five years as head coach for men's and women's track and field at ACU, (2000 and 2002-05 seasons), Murray coached the Wildcats to 11 NCAA Division II national championships and eight Lone Star Conference championships. His Wildcat men's squad was undefeated in 10 NCAA Division II indoor and outdoor national meets, and his women's team won the indoor title in 2000.
In cross country, Murray's Wildcats were undefeated in LSC men's cross country with 14 straight titles, and the women's team won the league crown in 10 of the 14 seasons (giving him a total of 32 league titles as a head coach). Both men's and women's teams finished as high as second in the nation in NCAA Division II cross country. While he was serving as head cross country coach at ACU, Murray was also assistant coach for the track and field in 1992-99 and 2001 seasons. During that time, the Wildcats won 21 NCAA Division II national titles (seven women's indoor, five women's outdoor, six men's indoor and three men's outdoor on Kittley's staff). He has been Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year in men's and women's cross country and men's track and field and president of the NCAA Division II Cross Country Coaches Association. As a head coach, four of his Wildcat track and field student-athletes won prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarships.
In 2005, he was honored as NCAA Division II Coach of the Year for men in both indoor and outdoor track and field after his Wildcats extended their winning streak in championship meets to eight. Under Murray, the Wildcats won both indoor and outdoor titles in 2002-03-04-05 - a streak matched only once previously in NCAA Division II history.
Murray's cross country teams won 24 Lone Star Conference championships (men from 1991-04 and women in 1991, 1993-97 and 2001-04). He also has been named LSC cross country Coach of the Year 24 times.
His 1993, 1996 and 1998-2004 men's cross country teams finished in the NCAA Division II top 10. The 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 squads both won NCAA South Central region championships and then went on to finish second at the national championship meet. The women's best-ever finish came in 1995 when they finished second at the NCAA Division II national cross country meet.
He and his wife, Samantha, were married in the summer of 2000 and have five children: Jonah, Gracie, Nathan, Jacob and Jonathan.
NCAA Champions (9)
Big 12 Champions (24)