Murken hired: JC men’s coach takes Minot State jobMatt Murken always had a goal to make it back to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Now, he has his chance.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Matt Murken always had a goal to make it back to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Now, he has his chance.
The Jamestown College men’s basketball coach — a former assistant at Wayne State College in Nebraska — was hired as the new men’s coach at Minot State University, a former NAIA school that has completed its transition to the NCAA and will compete in the NSIC starting next month.
The move became official with a press conference on Wednesday.
“It has been a goal of mine to coach at the (NCAA) Division II level and in the best conference in the country. There were many different factors involved with this decision, but being familiar with the conference made it easier to get involved in this process at this time of the year,” Murken said in a press release. “There are certainly some challenges to being successful – there are a lot of great teams with a lot of great coaches – but I think it is nice to be challenged on a game-by-game basis. It only forces you to get better.”
In a press release, Minot State coach Rick Hedberg said Murken impressed MSU officials during the hiring process.
“He was very impressive in the interview process and comes highly recommended,” Hedberg stated. “His record as a head coach is outstanding. That is a solid background and I think he can hit the ground running. With the guys we have coming back, those that were redshirted and the guys we have coming in — we are looking forward to our first year in the NSIC.”
Murken, named Dakota Athletic Conference coach of the year in 2011-12, was 46-16 in two years at Jamestown College. He helped the Jimmies to a No. 11 ranking in the national poll and to the NAIA Division II national tournament.
Murken coached three NAIA All-Americans, the DAC Most Valuable Player and five all-DAC performers in his two years in Jamestown.
However, the Jimmies graduated four starters, and fifth starter Drew Preiner — who was a freshman — has reportedly left school, along with his twin brother Luke who came off the bench. The Jimmies will look to depend on their first three off the bench from last season. Junior Davon Thomas will be the leading returning scorer at 10.6 points per game, while junior Mark Hoge is the leading minute man coming back at 21.2 points per game. He did start six games, though.
Also returning from players who logged significant minutes is senior Jared Sutherland, who chipped in 4.9 points per game.
Jamestown College returns only 29.4 of the 75 points per game it averaged last season.
Murken is the third Jimmies coach to leave in the past eight years. Jeff Trumbauer resigned for an assistant job with the NSIC’s Augustana College in 2010 after six seasons with the Jimmies. Prior to Trumbauer, the JC men were led by Brad Huse, who now serves as head coach at NCAA Division I Montana State University.
Murken did not respond to a voicemail left by the Jamestown Sun.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com