SANFORD — What’s past will be present again on the hardwood at Grace Christian.
In a series of changes necessitated by the departure of athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Steve Murr on Thursday, Tim Murr will return to the bench from which he guided the Crusaders to four NCCSA state championships and two NACA national titles.
Chris Pratt, the boys’ head soccer coach, will take over as the school’s athletic director.
Tim Murr stepped down as the basketball coach in 2007 as his younger brother Steve took the job. Tim has never strayed far from the program, however, and says he feels like he will return refreshed and ready to go.
“I am looking forward to being involved more closely on a day-to-day basis with student-athletes,” Tim said. “I have missed that and I know that we have some outstanding young men returning next year. I feel a renewed level of energy and I know that the two seasons away have been a positive thing for me.”
Steve Murr is leaving to pursue opportunities in education administration. He recently completed his master’s degree and is interviewing for jobs in several areas.
Steve says he enjoyed his three years at Grace Christian.
“I’ve grown very attached to the kids, and I really care about them,” Steve said. “We had some success at times and we struggled at other times, but it’s not like I haven’t enjoyed my time at Grace. It’s just time for me to move on and try different things.”
Pratt will enter his fifth year at Grace Christian. He served as the AD at Neuse Christian Academy before coming to Sanford, and is eager about the opportunities for the Crusaders’ programs.
“It’s going to be a big challenge because of the economy and because we’re a small private school, but I’m excited because our school has a lot of potential to grow,” Pratt said.
Pratt also says he takes over at a good time.
“I’m blessed with a pretty good job because Steve did a tremendous job as athletic director,” Pratt said. “It’s sad to see him go because he’s such a good friend, but wherever he goes he will be an asset.”
Tim Murr will take over a basketball program that has not contended for state titles since the year before he stepped down. But he returns with a career record of 384-180 and four state titles in a span of seven seasons from 2000-2006. Murr, who also won a state championship in 1998 at Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri, is 225-80 at Grace Christian and 89-9 in NCCSA West Conference play.
“I know the kids are excited to play for Tim,” Pratt says. “He’s got a great reputation — people know Tim Murr — and will make basketball here exciting.”