In 1922, Murray State University formed its first intercollegiate athletic teams, which included football, basketball, and track and field. The teams were organized by the school’s first athletic director, R.L. Newman, who also served as the football coach. At the time, Murray State was known as Murray State Normal School and Teachers College, and the athletic teams were primarily composed ...
In 1935, the men’s basketball team at Murray State University won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) championship. This was a significant achievement for the program, as the KIAC was one of the premier conferences in the region at the time. Led by head coach Carlisle Cutchin, the team finished the season with a record of 16-4, which included a ...
Ja Morant – Morant played for the men’s basketball team from 2017-2019 and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year twice. He was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft.
History of the Racers
The Murray State Racers have a long and storied history in NCAA sports. The program began in 1922 as the Murray Normal School, with its first team competing in basketball against nearby schools. Since then, the Racers have become one of the premier programs in their conference and across all Division I athletics.
Murray State has had impressive success over its nearly 100 years, including five NCAA Tournament appearances and two regular season championships (both from Ohio Valley Conference play). In addition to these accomplishments on the court or field, several former players became professional athletes after college - most notably NBA Hall-of-Famer Popeye Jones, who played at MSU from 1988-1992 before being drafted by Dallas Mavericks in 1992’s draft class.
In recent years under head coach Matt McMahon, they have continued this tradition while playing an exciting brand of basketball that has seen them reach new heights within OVC play and beyond - making it back-to-back trips to March Madness for the 2018 & 2019 seasons! This has been unheard of before any other period since joining D1 ranks way back when! They also made 3 straight tournament appearances when they won the automatic bid again in 2021, which was a massive accomplishment for the entire Racer Nation family!
Outside just winning games, though, what makes this special is how much pride everyone associated with Murray State takes into representing themselves both on & off the court/field each year, whether it be students cheering loudly at home games or alumni coming together around the world show support for alma mater no matter where life may take them after graduating. There truly isn’t another place like Racer Nation anywhere else out there today!!
College Sports Established
Murray State University
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1948 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2022 - Present / Missouri Valley Conference
1948 - 2021 / Ohio Valley Conference
Racers - For sports fans, the origins of a team’s nickname can be almost as fascinating as the games they play. The Murray State Racers are no exception. This NCAA Division I basketball team has been around since 1922, and its nickname is steeped in history and tradition.
The story starts with two former college presidents, Drs. Rainey Tisdale and John Rafferty first proposed that Murray State University should have an athletic program to represent it nationally in 1921. The two men had previously served together at Mississippi A&M College (now known as Mississippi State University), where they were both active members of the school's track & field teams – hence why "Racers" was chosen for their new university's mascot!
In addition to being an homage to its founders' alma mater, this name also carries special meaning for those living near or attending MSU today: It symbolizes not only speed but also progressiveness, something which is essential when considering how much growth has taken place over the past century at this institution! Furthermore, many people associate racing with competition - another critical component of collegiate athletics - making it even more fitting for an esteemed program like MSU's Racer Athletics Department!
Not only does this moniker capture all that makes up collegiate sports culture, but it’s also become synonymous with pride within its local community due to all that these athletes have achieved throughout their time competing under its banner – from conference championships won during regular season play through postseason tournament appearances (including multiple trips deep into March Madness!). All-in-all, there isn't doubt why “Racers” remains one of college basketball's most beloved nicknames today!
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