MINOT, N.D. – Minot State athletic director Rick Hedberg introduced Matt Murken as Minot State’s head men’s basketball coach Wednesday during a press conference at the Beaver Dam in the MSU Student Center.
Murken, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is an 11-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks and has been the head coach at Jamestown College for the past two seasons.
“We are very pleased to have Matt joining us at Minot State University to lead our men’s basketball program,” Hedberg said. “He was very impressive in the interview process and comes highly recommended. Matt has a diverse background: he has six years of experience in the Northern Sun as an assistant, one year at a junior college and now two years of experience as a head coach at the college level.
“His record as a head coach is outstanding. That is a solid background and I think he can hit the ground running. With the guys we have coming back, those that were red-shirted and the guys we have coming in; we are looking forward to our first year in the NSIC.”
Murken was named the Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2011-12 after leading the Jimmies to a No. 11 national ranking and the NAIA Division II national tournament. He was 46-16 in two seasons at JC, coaching three NAIA All-Americans, the DAC Most Valuable Player and five All-DAC performers.
“It has been a goal of mine to coach at the [NCAA] Division II level and in the best conference in the country. There were many different factors involved with this decision, but being familiar with the conference made it easier to get involved in this process at this time of the year,” Murken said. “There are certainly some challenges to being successful – there are a lot of great teams with a lot of great coaches – but I think it is nice to be challenged on a game-by-game basis. It only forces you to get better.”
Minot State received over 80 applications before narrowing down to four on-campus interviews conducted last week. The hiring procedure was pushed forward quickly due to the timing of the open coaching position, but Hedberg was pleased with how the university handled the process.
“The hiring process was accelerated due to it being mid-summer, but I was very pleased with the quality of candidates,” Hedberg said. “Any of the four we brought on campus could have done the job. The process went as well as we could have expected, and we are excited to have Matt move the program into the Northern Sun and NCAA Division II.”
While Murken indicated he had a long list of things he wants to get accomplished in a short time, he felt getting to know the current Minot State players is paramount.
“Right away I need to build a relationship with our guys,” he said. “College basketball is a grind and you have to have that foundation of trust and an expectation level of what I’m going to demand. And, there is a lot of excitement for the jump to the NSIC and to the NCAA and we need to get as many people on board with that.”
In 2003, Murken began as a graduate assistant at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., and while pursuing a master’s degree from WSC. Murken was promoted to assistant coach at WSC in 2004 and served as the team’s recruiting and academic coordinator. During his time at WSC he successfully recruited the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Freshman of the Year and five NSIC All Conference players in four years. As academic coordinator, his teams had a cumulative GPA of 3.0-plus over a four-year span.
Murken spent one season at Des Moines Area Community College, finishing with a 22-7 record in 2009-10 before taking the Jamestown College coaching position.
He holds a Masters of Science in education from Wayne State College and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Concordia University in Seward, Neb. Murken played basketball for Concordia University, twice being named to the NAIA Academic All-America Team.