Owatonna Coach Leaves for College Job
It almost seemed too good to be true. A former Olympic coach who had won national championships as a player was coming to Owatonna to coach hockey. It turned out to be too good to last long. It was recently announced that Sarah Murray accepted the position of head women's hockey coach at St. Mary's in Winona after one year coaching the Owatonna High School girls' hockey team.
Time and time again when I interviewed Huskies' players they were thrilled with the chance to be led by a woman who had won national titles as a prep player at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault and two more with UMD. Murray also played professionally in Europe before leading the Unified Korean National Team in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
In a news release distributed through the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, St. Mary's athletic director Brian Sisson said, "Sarah's energy, passion, competitiveness, and desire to provide a transformational student-athlete experience to our Cardinal student-athletes is what stood out most throughout the process."
Murray stated, "I am looking forward to getting to campus to start working with the talented group of student-athletes and the rest of the Saint Mary's staff." Murray is the daughter of Andy Murray, who is a longtime college and professional coach who was also part owner of the Southern Minnesota Express hockey team when it debuted in Owatonna in 2005.
When Owatonna announces a new girls' hockey coach it will be the fourth in four years. Longtime coach Tim Hunst stepped down after the 2016-17 season. Dan Paur coached for the 2017-18 season. Each cited young families as a reason to resign. Mas Fukishima was the original OHS girls' hockey coach. The new coach with the fifth in program history.
The Huskies' extended their streak of .500-or-better seasons with an 11-11-3 mark this past winter. Owatonna finished fourth in the Big Nine Conference. OHS graduates All-Conference players Maylynn Prokopec and Kiley Friedrichs off the squad but returns All-Big Nine players Asia Bursyka and Ezra Oien plus Honorable Mention selections Sydney Hunst and Chloe Schmidt.