In Defense Of Terry Murray

The terribly disturbing events of the week have really gotten me thinking. A living legend, the winningest coach in the history of College Football was deservedly fired in disgrace for actions that are unconscionable. I could write far more about this incident and the troublesome future of a society that prizes winning athletic contests over the innocence of young children. This, however, is a hockey blog so I will address how this pertains to the current situation with our beloved Kings.

The pressure to win in professional and college sports is unimaginable. Whether it is universities looking to feed their hungry maws with television dollars or egotistical billionaires who need a trophy to put up on the wall, winning is everything. The person who is charged with delivering victory is the head coach. When you really sit down and think about it, this has got to be the hardest and most thankless job on the planet. As a coach, you are tasked with bringing together a collection of athletes with disparate backgrounds and forging a team. These players are paid far more than you are with guaranteed contracts that pay them no matter how they perform or even if they deign listen to you. Moreover, you have to do your job in a fishbowl where a million critics, called fanatics or fans for short, of varying levels of knowledge or lack thereof, question and double guess your every move, often with the benefit of hindsight. You have multiple bosses, owners and general managers who you need to please, and the press wants to extract its pound of flesh on a regular basis. It is no wonder professional and Division I college coaches work ungodly hours.

With the pressure to win so great, you often see what these people are made of. In the case of Joe Paterno, a man who held himself up as a paragon of virtue and honor, we see the basest side of the profession (please read the grand jury report if you doubt me). Other men such as John Wooden achieve the pinnacle of success in their profession while still maintaining their integrity. But the reality is few coaches ever enjoy this level of success and eventually experience the humiliation of being publicly fired. I, like many of our readers, have been laid off in my life, and it is not a pleasant experience. In my case, it was done privately, with no press release and no fan boards debating whether I deserved it or not. All I can say is ‘Thank God’.

I have made fun, often viciously, of Terry Murray in the past and will do so again, possibly as soon as tomorrow, in an effort to entertain our readers. The beauty of this medium is that allows novices like myself to express our opinion. But, I never forget that Terry Murray and his fellow coaches are human beings. They love their wives, hug their kids at night and are the breadwinners for their families. I don’t know Terry and have no reason to believe that he is anything other than a decent human being. I would like to think, perhaps naively, he and 99% of his fellow coaches would never avert their eyes from the sodomizing of children in order to win another game. It is probably inevitable that Murray is finished as the coach of our team. When it happens, I hope that we realize that firing him may mean a new start for our hockey team, but it will also be a cheerless day as well. A good man will have lost his job, and for that, I hope we will all be a little sad.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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24 replies

  1. Murray has helped the Kings. He has won more than his share with regards to the Kings coaching history. He is a man who deserves respect, and someday long after he’s gone the Kings will honor his achievements, and fans will acknowlege his contributions.

    But right now, he isn’t winning anybodies trust by sticking to his guns, and refusing to adjust. I like that he is a man of principles, but when those principles interfere with results, then it becomes stubborness.

    I never wanted to see Murray fired, but if he doesn’t start breaking some of his own rules, he’s gonna force it on himself. I won’t rejoice either if he gets fired, just to have Stevens step in. If there’s gonna be a change, then let it be in a different direction.

    Lateral moves to mediocrity is not something I look forward too. Change is what I am looking for, not nescesarily a new coach, but that makes the most sense right now.

  2. I don’t know enough about Terry Murray to say whether or not he is a good man. My barometer for “good” is a few clicks above complicit negligence of child sodomy.

  3. Remember when it was Jamie Compon who was so close to being rightfully fired just 15 or so power plays ago? Now what say you? The power play is better now, and it seems Jamie is in the clear. But then the team loses 6 of 7, and it is time for new blame since during that losing stretch the power play looks pretty great. Is that why so many have turned their wrath on Terry Murray? I for one am not quite ready to do that. I for one look to blame the players and their effort on the ice during that stretch. I for one think we have a pretty sound system that is built for the playoffs, and when executed with a solid 3 period effort from these skilled players, it will win 75+% of the time.

    Of course shots need to be taken from the dangerous locations, our guys know that. Nothing is stopping them from taking a majority of shots from there except confidence, guts and determination. The problem is that some nights some of our boys play lazy and without determination, falling in to the trap that since they are better than their opponent that a win will not take a full effort. Some nights some lack the guts needed to enter the dangerous areas in fear of being hit and injured. And on some nights, some of our boys lack the confidence that is needed to win under the new expectations to win. I also don’t feel that when Terry Murray says the words “shot mentality”, that he is referring to going for bad shots from bad angles. Of course he wants those shots to be as dangerous as possible, but he wants those shot opportunities to be taken when available as opposed to trying to make that last perfect pass for the chance of a slightly better shot.

    In the end, I feel this team needs an identity of a winning culture, one that will not tolerate a loss or an half-assed effort from any of its members. The days of “We don’t have the pieces to win” are over, and with that comes significant pressure that many 20 year old’s need to learn to handle, especially the one’s just awarded huge multi-million dollar contracts. In my mind, all Terry Murray needs to do is instill this winning culture in these boys as deep and as loud as possible. The team is older now, and maybe he needs to be rougher with them, but I feel he deserves more time to make these managerial adjustments. I believe Terry Murray deserves a bit more time to continue to evolve his strategies as long as the season’s results are better than the last, and it is a bit too early to draw those conclusions. And finally, I put this all on the backs of the players. Nothing is stopping the team leaders from suggesting a better way to the coaching staff, but my guess is there isn’t one beyond those players going out and executing their full effort. Because if they do what they know they are supposed to do, and they do it with 100% of their effort and capabilities, on each and every shift, a Stanley Cup is awaiting them.

  4. Good atticle.. hopfully this will raise our people’s consciousness a little.
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  5. I am conflicted about Terry Murray. I preface by stating that I have a sense of loyalty to those that befriend me, especially in the realm of business. I find it very difficult to be cerebral when it comes to firing someone, especially if they have their virtues.

    My instincts tell me that Terry Murray is a decent man. i think he does have a strong sense of paternalism towards his players and certainly immense respect for the game. I think he understands the things that all men have to deal with–wives, kids, bills etc. I think he understands that it is harder for some players than others; e.g. the Wayne Simmonds incident in the preseason.

    Can he lead this team to a championship? I honestly do not know but I would lying if I denied having some doubts. Motivating professional athletes is an enourmously difficult job that is probably more of an art than anything else.

    I enjoy being a fan, although with this team it has been an abusive and dysfunctional relationship for 40 years. That said, I am happy that I am not a general manager…

    • Steve, what a fantastic post. No joke, that was So well written. You must have some things in place because your writing suggests that.

      My favorite line from your post: Motivating professional athletes is an enourmously difficult job that is probably more of an art than anything else.

  6. Terry Murray could be a wonderful man who is honest, has tremendous integrity and is selfless in his actions. He could also be a monster. We don’t know, anymore than we knew with Joe Paterno. That is why I judge (read: opine) on Terry solely based on his merit as a hockey coach and nothing else. I am not qualified to give any other opinion…I am barely qualified to give the coaching one :)

  7. Smyth now has 9 goals. That is more than all of the Kings left wingers. That is sad. Lombardi forced into the worst trade of his tenure.

    Kings will go no where until they have a top 10 offense. Murray will not get them there. Until Murray is gone, the Kings will continue to disappoint. They will win plenty of games, but will fail in the playoffs.

    • Sydor, I’m split on that one. To me it was clear that they needed to up the speed quotient on this team. So they got rid of his lack of speed and his salary, but you’re right on. They lost like 35 goals between Simmer and Smyth. Who is replacing those goals? No One clearly. And we were already a team that was offensively challenged.

  8. I don’t know why Paterno is taking such a nasty fall. Didn’t the Grand Jury make a finding that he did, in fact, report to others what he had been told about Sandusky? And weren’t those others the ones who should have, under Pennsylvania’s statutes, relayed the information to the state’s appropriate investigative agency?

    Of course, I don’t know all the facts. I could be completely fulla shit. In tomorrow’s news there might be enough to shoot Paterno on sight. But right now it does seem a little quick-on-the-trigger to fire a guy who never got the chance to cross-examine his accusers — if any — and who is getting a nation-wide media shellacking by all the Self-Righteous finger-pointers who don’t know any more than I do.

    To me, THAT’s what I call “unconscionable”.

    • No Paterno is completely culpable.

      1) Sandusky retired in 1999 at the age of 55, young for a top assistant coach. He could have gotten a head coaching opportunity anywhere with his resume, yet he chose to quit. it is hard to escape the conclusion that he was forced to step down in exchange for Penn State not exposing him. Remember, Sandusky was first investigated for pederasty in 1998. Paterno had to know if there was a deal.

      2) Paterno was told by an assistant in 2002 that Sandusky had raped a 10 year old kid in the shower- eyewitness testimony. He did nothing except tell the AD who was someone Paterno himself had hired. Paterno was the most powerful man on campus- it was his responsibility to tell the police which he failed to do.

      3) The only action Paterno took was to tell Sandusky not to come on campus with kids anymore. That meant for NINE years, Sandusky still had the benefits of a retired coach and could use that position to procure more boys for his charity which was just a conduit for his sexual appetites. A someone who coined the phrase ‘winning with honor’ Paterno had a higher duty.

      4) Parents entrust their kids to a coach when they select a university. The reality is that Joe Paterno averted his eyes as to what was going on in order to pursue 409 wins while at the same time acting to the outside world as a paragon of virtue. Other than Sandusky, there is no one more responsible for what happened than the man in charge.

      This incident is going to destroy the football program and the university. Just wait till the law suits start. It is also going to be the biggest scandal in American sports when all is aid and done.

      • No Paterno is completely culpable.

        … Absolutely. Someone with his status throughout the university, the community, and the football World had every opportunity to do the right thing – sure, the PSU program would have suffered some, but it would have proven that Paterno’s rhetoric about integrity and honor before all else was more than just rhetoric. If anything, Paterno’s admirers would have had all the more reason to admire him.

        There were chances to put a stop to what this sexual predator was doing, and the lives he was ruining. Each chance went by the wayside, and for what? The greater good of a college football team? That’s ridiculous and disgusting. The way I see it, Paterno’s getting off easy if he’s only losing his head coaching gig. For shame, Mr. Paterno.

        Just wait till the law suits start. It is also going to be the biggest scandal in American sports when all is aid and done.

        … It’ll be up there, for sure. It rivals the story of Graham James in Canada.

      • You may be right about most of what you say.

        But if I understand what went down, as soon as Paterno was advised by the graduate student of the 2002 incident, he notified his immediate superviser. You tell me that this supervisor was someone he himself originally hired. But the only issue is which of them had actual authority to deal with the matter.

        Paterno might be the Son of God on the Penn State campus, but his “prestige” is not co-equivalent with his power. To the extent he did have any responsibilities I think it’s possible to claim — and claim fairly — he exercised them honorably in a tough spot. On the one hand he’s told that a guy he’s worked with for 23 years raped a kid in the school’s shower. He forthwith — and by “forthwith” I mean immediately — tells his boss in the school’s chain of command and likewise tells Sandusky not to bring any kids onto the campus.

        Is it true that no prosecution was initiated out of the alleged 1998 incident? And that the decision NOT to prosecute was made after a lengthy investigation by the appropriate state agency?

        If so, why hold Paterno accountable for any subsequent delays in rooting out Sandusky? Why argue that he HAD TO KNOW a deal went down?

        Unlike a lotta people I’ve actually had some professional exposure to child-molestation cases — both real and phony — and I know, like everyone else should know, that the mere accusation is enough to burn down a man’s life. I mean, look what’s happening here. Have you heard a single word from Paterno?

        Where there’s smoke there’s not always fire. It’s POSSIBLE that Paterno is completely free of blame for what happened.

        I’m not saying he is guiltless. But I AM saying, don’t rush so fucking fast to judgment.

        Incidentally, this last point matters to me, though you don’t seem to give a shit about it. The kids that Sandusky is accused of molesting all came, I believe, from an organization that Sandusky himself created and operated. Paterno had nothing to do with it. So it does seem like you’re grandstanding a bit when you conclude with that “Parents entrust their kids to a coach . . .” business. As far as I know, NONE of the victims’ parents entrusted their kids to Paterno or to Penn State. Nor, as far as I know, did Paterno or Penn State make any representations to these parents or to their kids.

  9. Stick to writing about hockey. Including the whole Paterno discussion in a post that supposedly defends Terry Murray (to a point) by bringing up the “pressure to win” in sports is reprehensible.

  10. “When it happens, I hope that we realize that firing him may mean a new start for our hockey team, but it will also be a cheerless day as well. A good man will have lost his job, and for that, I hope we will all be a little sad.”

    Ahhh…yeah I guess. But like Denzel’s character in Training Day said “This is chess not checkers…” there’s a war to win here and if the general can’t win the war then it’s time to find someone who can.

    I’ve always stated that TM is probably a decent guy. I have no idea never met him or hung out with him but that’s irrelevant to me. It’s all about winning the cup. I’m pretty sure if you asked every player in the locker room if it was ok to not winning the cup they’d probably tell you to fuck off.

  11. I find all of this boring. I’m trying to read up on this story. I’m trying to work my way through the comments here. But I can’t help but really not care. There’s a ton of bad shit in the world, I don’t need to know about all of it and nothing about this story intrigues me to investigate.


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