Sarah Murray, the Faribault native who coached the unified Korean women’s hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, has been hired as head coach of the women’s team at St. Mary’s University in Winona.
Murray, 31, finished a four-year stint with Team Korea in the spring of 2018. She returned to southern Minnesota to coach the girls’ team at Owatonna High School last season. At St. Mary’s, she will take over for Greg Moore, who went 18-23-6 during a two-season tenure that ended in April.
“We are thrilled to announce Sarah Murray as the head coach of our women’s hockey program,’’ St. Mary’s athletic director Brian Sisson said. “Sarah is a dynamic individual who comes from a hockey family, and her hockey championship pedigree speaks for itself. Her strong hockey connections in-state and within the hockey community at large will benefit our program for years to come.’’
The daughter of veteran coach Andy Murray, Sarah Murray played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and Minnesota Duluth, winning two prep national championships and a pair of NCAA titles. She was planning to move to Switzerland to play professionally in 2014 when she met former NHL player Jim Paek, director of the Korea Ice Hockey Association. Paek hired her to coach the Korean women’s Olympic team at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, a challenging task in a country where few women play hockey.
Though Murray had to teach some players the most basic of skills — such as how to hop over the boards — the South Korean program became much more competitive during her four-year tenure.
The overmatched Korean team went 0-5 in the Olympic tournament, but Murray won praise for her handling of a delicate situation. Only three weeks before the Games, political leaders arranged for 12 North Korean players to join the South Korean team as a gesture of goodwill between two countries still technically at war. The team attracted intense interest and became one of the biggest stories of the Olympics.
Last season, Murray guided Owatonna to an 11-10-3 record in regular-season play. The Huskies lost to Dodge County 2-0 in the section quarterfinals.
Murray is the fifth head coach in the 21-year history of St. Mary’s women’s hockey.