Sometimes to take a step forward in life, a step backward must be taken first.
Scott McMurray found himself without a coaching job following the retirement of longtime Mt. Vernon coach Doug Peacock in December of 2010.
McMurray, who was an assistant coach for all 17 years of the Peacock era, applied for a position with new coach Doug Armstrong’s regime, but didn’t receive an offer.
He took his newfound gridiron joblessness in stride — McMurray said he doesn’t hold a grudge against the current MV staff — and decided to pursue a longstanding goal: coach 5A football.
Fast forward nearly two years, and McMurray is a state champion.
In the 5A state championship game, Lawrence Central defeated Ft. Wayne Snider 39-14 to capture the school’s first state crown.
McMurray is the outside linebackers coach for the Bears, who finished 15-0 for the first time in school history.
Lawrence Central’s offense was ranked sixth in 5A in points per game (38.3), but its calling card was the team’s defense, which finished third in 5A in points allowed (10.5 ppg) and never allowed more than 23 points in a game.
Ft. Wayne Snider entered averaging 404.9 yards of total offense, including 262.2 on the ground. The Bears limited the Panthers to 96 rushing yards and 301 total yards.
“We had one key injury, but aside from that we stayed healthy,” said McMurray, whose team finished first in the state Sagarin ratings, regardless of class. “The only way we weren’t going to win was if we beat ourselves.”