DIII wrestling: Ithaca's former coach to be honored by National Wrestling Hall of Fame
EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Ithaca wrestling legend and former coach of the Bombers, John Murray, is set to be awarded with the "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Sunday, September 18. He is set to receive the award over the weekend when the Upstate NYS Chapter of the National Wrestling Coaches Association holds its annual banquet at the Double Tree Hotel in East Syracuse, N.Y.
"John really laid the foundation for Ithaca College Wrestling and was the architect who built the program into what it is today," current head coach Marty Nichols said. "His leadership and vision put the program on the map as a national power. His formula for success has been etched into the fabric of the Ithaca College wrestling program and his influence is still felt to this day."
A 1995 inductee into the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame, Murray led the program to a 150-59-0 (.718) record over his 15 seasons at the helm of the program. He was named the program's eighth head coach in the fall of 1980, at the time becoming the youngest head wrestling coach in the NCAA at 23 years old. Taking over a middling program lacking direction, he quickly instilled a winning culture that elevated Ithaca College into a national wrestling power.
Under Murray's direction, the Bombers won three NCAA Division III National Championships, which included back-to-back team titles in 1989 and 1990, as well as a team championship in 1994. Ithaca finished the year ranked in the Top-15 twelve times during his tenure. He guided 27 wrestlers to All-American honors, with the group totaling 50 All-American accolades overall. Murray also coached five NCAA Division III Individual Weight-Class National Champions.
Throw back Thursday's. Section 5's Finest 1989. pic.twitter.com/f8yLmtAIdu— Bomber Wrestling (@IthacaWrestling) September 15, 2016
Murray retired from college coaching following the 1994-95 season. At the time, he was the winningest wrestling coach in Ithaca College history. He was a three-time NCAA Division III Coach of the Year honoree in 1984, 1989 and 1994, while he also was named New York State Coach of the Year in 1985, 1988 and 1994.
In addition to being a member of the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame, he has also been inducted into the Cornell Distinguished Wrestling Alumni Hall of Fame, the New York State Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and the NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.