It's all come full circle for new Southland Raiders head football coach Rod Murray.
Murray began his coaching career at Southland. Now he's leading the Raiders.
The former Deerfield-Windsor defensive coordinator takes over for Tim Goodin, who stepped down last month after five seasons with Southland.
Murray says he's excited to take over a team he feels is on the upswing.
"Certainly the momentum is rolling over there now with them making it to the [GISA state] semis last year and playing a very good game," he says. "I think the program is headed the right way and the school has taken off. There's just a lot of pros to it."
Murray led the Knight defense for ten seasons, winning three state titles during his tenure.
As the DWS head baseball coach, he led the Knights to three state finals.
You could say he knows what it takes to get there, and he's ready to bring that knowledge to Southland and a program searching for their first state title since 1992.
"Obviously hard work, commitment to the program, trusting your teammates, continuity on your staff, and you have to get some breaks along the way," he says. "You have to understand when you get in the big games to have confidence in what you've been coached up to do."
Murray has served as a head football coach before, at Gatewood Academy.
He says working under DWS head coach Allen Lowe has taught him many lessons he'll take to Americus.
"Allen lets his assistant coaches coach. He trusts you to do your job, and he's there if you need him," Murray says. "Of course, he knows what's going on at all times. But he's just a great guy. He chooses his battles wisely, but he lets his assistant coaches coach and he trusts us."
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