March 19, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. - Sherri Murrell, who coached the University of the Pacific to four consecutive winning seasons, has been hired as Washington State University's head women's basketball coach, WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced, Tuesday.
Murrell replaces Jenny Przekwas who compiled a 17-68 record in three years at WSU.
"I am extremely pleased to have a person with Coach Murrell's background, experience and reputation, heading up Washington State's women's basketball program," Sterk said. "During Sherri's visit to campus last week and during her meetings with WSU administrators, staff, and coaches, it became quite apparent she was a perfect fit for the Cougars."
"I am excited and privileged to lead the Washington State University program to a new level of excellence and expectation," said Murrell. "From the moment I stepped onto Cougar soil, I knew it was the right fit for me."
"I look forward to coaching back in the Northwest and bringing excitement to Cougar fans," added the Portland, Ore., native.
During her four years at Pacific, Murrell coached the Tigers to a 68-46 record including a 40-20 mark in Big West Conference play. The Tigers' 19-11 record in 2002 was the most wins by the program since 1995. Additionally, the four consecutive winning seasons under Murrell's watch marked the first time since 1993-96 that Pacific had put together a string of four winning campaigns.
In 2002, Murrell guided the Tigers to the Big West Tournament Championship game. During the regular season, Pacific finished in a tie for second place in the conference for the second consecutive season. In 2000, Murrell coached the Tigers to their first appearance in the Big West semifinals since 1996.
While at Pacific, Murrell coached Selena Ho, who won the BWC Freshman of the Year honors in 1999 and then finished her career with back-to-back first team honors. Ho became only the third player in Pacific history to earn first team conference honors twice.
Along with Ho, Gillian d'Hondt was also named to the BWC first team in 2002, marking the first time Pacific had two players named to the conference first team. After the 2000-01 season, Murrell guided four players to All-Big West honors, the first time since the 1994-95 season Pacific had four players on the All-Big West team.
Before coming to Pacific, Murrell served as the top assistant at Portland State from 1997-99.
Murrell previously was head coach at George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., where she compiled a 52-33 record and led her team to three playoff appearances. She was named the Cascade Conference Coach of the Year twice, in 1994 and 1995, and led the Bruins into the NAIA Top-25 for the first time in school history during the 1994-95 season.
While at George Fox, Murrell also served as graduate admissions coordinator for four years and assisted the Bruin Club for two years, identifying potential donors to the program.
"Coach Murrell has experience building two other intercollegiate programs," Sterk said. "Given WSU's facilities, resources and support, and now adding in all that Coach Murrell brings to the program, I believe we will be able to build a very competitive program, first in the region and ultimately within the Pacific-10 Conference."
Prior to becoming head coach at George Fox, Murrell spent one season as a Bruin assistant. During the 1991-92 season, she was an assistant coach at Brigham Young University, and prior to that she spent one year as an assistant at Pepperdine University.
Murrell is a 1991 graduate of Pepperdine with a degree in public relations. She played two seasons as point guard for the Waves, earning All-West Coast Conference honors in 1990. Murrell also played two years of basketball the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (formerly Southwestern Louisiana).
Murrell graduated from Portland's St. Mary's Academy, where she was a member of the 1985 Oregon State 4A championship team.
Note: Murrell is pronounced Merl.