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Former JV coach to take over leading varsity girls basketball

Former Halifax County High School jayvee boys and Northern Middle School (N.C.) boys basketball coach Wayne Murray has been selected to lead the Halifax County High School girls basketball program.

HCHS Principal Albert Randolph made the announcement Friday morning, with Murray emerging from a list of five candidates who interviewed for the position.

Murray served as head coach for the Halifax County High School jayvee boys basketball team from 2000-2005, and he coached middle school basketball at Northern High School in Roxboro (N.C.) in 2006.

Murray said Friday he’d been thinking about getting back into coaching for some time.

“I’ve had the kids talk to me about coaching and wanting me to get back into it,” said Murray.

“The community support was there, and I’ve been interested in the past, but I never got the right paperwork to get to the interview process.”

“I want to take the girls and bring success to the program,” noted Murray.

“I want the girls back interested in playing, and I want the community back interested in coming to the ball games and watching the games.”

Murray is aware that coaching girls is different from coaching boys.

“That was one of the questions they asked me,” he pointed out.

“I’m at that point in my life now where I would accept the challenge.

“I know you have to talk to them differently, and the game is at a different pace, and it’s different things the girls can do and the boys can’t.

“Let’s do the right things, win some games and be positive about the program again.”

Murray coached jayvee boys when the varsity boys team was coached by Garrett Dillard, and he listed Dillard as a positive influence.

He’s carried groups of kids to basketball camps at the University of Richmond and the Coach “K” camp at Duke several times.

Murray plans to coach to whatever talent he has on hand.

“I prefer if I have the talent to run a 1-3-1 defense and half court trap and try to speed the game up a little bit,” said Murray.

“It all depends on the talent coming out, and who we’re playing.

“I know it won’t be an overnight process.”

Murray is somewhat familiar with the girls basketball program at Halifax County High School, having already talked with jayvee girls Head Coach David Graham.

“I’ve talked to David Graham, and I know several of the girls,” said Murray, who will retain current varsity assistant coach Jennifer Rutledge and add Suzanne Gasperini O’Hara to his staff.

O’Hara has basketball experience at both Halifax County High School and Meredith College.

Murray will meet with returning players and his coaching staff this week.  Conditioning is already under way with Rutledge.

“He has some experience, and we like what we heard in the interview,” said HCHS Athletic Director Allen Lawter.

He had a vision for girls basketball here in Halifax, and we knew he would work hard to turn our program around in a positive direction. 

“We’re excited for him to get started.”