Coming back strong
WHOEVER SAID YOU can't go home again? You can and the experience the second time around can be even better than before.
That's what Sherri Murrell (pictured at left), head women's basketball coach, is experiencing in a whirlwind six months since her return to the Park Blocks. An Oregon native, Murrell served as an assistant coach for the Vikings for two seasons from 1996 to 1998 under Jenny Yopp. She left Portland State for the head coaching position at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and later at Washington State University in Pullman. After nine seasons away from Portland, Murrell came home to replace head coach Charity Elliott, who resigned after three seasons at the helm.
"I pinch myself every day to make sure this is really happening," says Murrell. "I'm so excited to be back in Portland and coaching at Portland State."
While Murrell was in charge of rebuilding programs at Pacific and Washington State, she doesn't view Portland State as another renovation project. Even though the Vikings have not had a winning season since going 18-10 in 1998-99, Portland State seems poised for a breakout year.
"Charity did a great job recruiting players; we're just not real big on experience right now," says Murrell.
Ironically, Murrell was the assistant coach who recruited most of the players on the 1998-99 PSU squad. She left to take the head coaching job at Pacific prior to the start of that season, when the team made its first and only Big Sky Tournament Championship game appearance.
Things changed at PSU while Murrell was gone. The Vikings are more established as a Big Sky Conference member and ready to take that next step toward climbing to the top of the conference—a "Championship Journey" as Murrell calls it.
You can go home again—it's just about timing.
Matching trophies for Morrison?
SCOTT MORRISON, the men's basketball team's only four-year player, hopes to end his Viking career as it started: a winner. His freshman year, the team won the 2004-05 Big Sky Conference Championship.
The senior from Vancouver, B.C., spent the majority of that first season as the starting center. He averaged 5.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and blocked 29 shots. Last season, the 6-11 center increased his output to 11.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and set a school record by blocking 70 shots. The Vikings finished third in the conference standings.
Morrison is also making a name for himself in his native Canada. This past summer, he played for the second time at the World University Games on Team Canada, which took the bronze medal.
Morrison's basketball future looks bright on the professional level. But right now he has his eyes on a matched set of Big Sky Conference championship trophies.
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