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McMurray to retire from coaching

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Bruins coach to hang up whistle

By Robert Howey

The hall of fame coaching career of Bennie “Coach Mac” McMurray is now in the books. McMurray, a 38-year coaching veteran who coached at four different schools, including his final stop at Lancaster High School, is retiring from coaching.

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“It’s time,” said McMurray in a Wednesday afternoon interview at the Rice Athletic Complex on the LHS campus. “I’ve always said that when it comes time to hang up my whistle, I would know. This is something I’ve thought about the last two years and now is the time.”

McMurray’s time in coaching has been productive with a 218-127 mark in 27 seasons as a high school head football coach.

A Lancaster native and standout at Barr Street High School, McMurray, 64, launched his coaching career in 1975 at Buford High School where he served as a football assistant and guided the Yellow Jackets’ baseball team, which he resurrected.

McMurray moved to Lewisville High School in 1983 and served as a Lions assistant football coach and the LHS baseball coach. In 1987, he was named the Lions’ head football coach and guided Lewisville to three Class A state football championships and a pair of state runner-up finishes with an impressive 145-42 mark at the Richburg school.

McMurray then moved to E.E. Waddell High School in Charlotte where he began the program in 2001 and built it into a state contender with two conference championships and a 34-29 record.

McMurray’s final prep coaching stop came in 2006 at Lancaster High School where he led the Bruins to a 39-54 mark in eight seasons. His best team was the 2008 Bruins who went 10-4 and fell a game shy of a Class AAAA Div. II state championship game berth.

In eight seasons at LHS, McMurray led the Bruins to three winning seasons and three postseason bids.

His final two seasons saw LHS go 2-9 in each campaign, including an 0-7 region mark this fall.

“I wish we could have finished better, a good season, or at least break-even,” McMurray said. “At the same time, I’m not going to let two seasons tarnish what has been accomplished in my coaching career.”

McMurray’s coaching career also includes five Class A baseball state championships at Lewisville, along with a state runner-up finish. 

His 419-119 record ranks 11th all-time in S.C. prep baseball coaching wins.

“We’ve had a lot of good moments,” McMurray said. “Overall, I’m proud of the way we did things and the way we influenced young men along the way. The wins, championships and accolades are wonderful, but it’s about the relationships you build with your players and coaches. I’ll miss that the most.”

McMurray, a 2005 S.C. Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, also distinguished himself in high school all-star game competition. 

McMurray served as a S.C. Shrine Bowl assistant coach in 1999 and guided the N.C. Shrine Bowl team in 2005. He also served as a North-South All-Star football game head coach in 2010 and a North-South All-Star game assistant in 1994.

In baseball, McMurray coached in the first North-South All-Star game and also coached in the S.C. vs. N.C. elite game.

“In all of those all-star games, we never lost,” McMurray said. “I take pride in that because those games draw the top players in the state.”

McMurray said he hopes his successor can build the LHS program.

“The school is moving to Class AAA, which will still be tough, but I feel Lancaster can be more competitive,” he said. “We just need new energy.”

McMurray said he’s unsure of his future.

“I’m going to evaluate and enjoy me,” he said. “You never say never, so some time down the road, I might consider coaching again. Right now I’ll consider my options.”

 

Contact sports editor Robert Howey at (803) 283-1157