Matt McMahon was named the 16th head coach in Murray State men’s basketball history Tuesday, June 9.
Director of Athletics, Allen Ward, introduced McMahon and his family to a large gathering of media, fans and friends at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.
McMahon, who had recently taken the associate head coach position at Louisiana Tech, May 27, comes back to Murray State with a wealth of experience in the game and with the Racers. McMahon was an assistant coach to Steve Prohm where he helped the Racers to 104 victories over the last four seasons, including a pair of Ohio Valley Conference championships. Prohm was named head coach at Iowa State Monday.
“I want to thank Allen Ward and President Davies for giving me the opportunity to return to Murray state as the head basketball coach. My family and I have enjoyed our four years in this community and we look forward to many more. I also owe a great deal of thanks to Steve Prohm for bringing me to Murray and serving as a mentor to me. I also want to thank our players past and present for their hard work and commitment to the program. Their success on the court, in the classroom and in the community has allowed me to be in this position today.”
“I am so excited to know that Coach McMahon will be returning to Murray State to lead the Racers,” Ward said. “After watching him for four years, I’m convinced he’s the right man for the job. He’s an outstanding coach, nationally recognized as one of the top assistants in the country, with a tremendous upside. Matt has the talent and integrity to continue the momentum we’ve built, put his own stamp on the program, and meet the expectations that come with being the head coach at Murray State.
“During the past season, I’ve had the opportunity to meet, talk and observe the outstanding work ethic of Coach McMahon,” said university president Dr. Bob Davies. “He’s an impressive young man, with unquestioned character and integrity, fully prepared to lead a program chalked full high expectations.”
The McMahon file shows a career arc that pointed to this day the moment he finished his playing career at Appalachian State in 1999. McMahon stayed at his alma mater for the 2000 season and served under head coach Houston Fancher. In 2001, McMahon moved to Tennessee as graduate assistant to head coach Buzz Peterson. McMahon went back to Appalachian State in 2002 for his first fulltime position with Coach Fancher and remained there for the next 10 seasons. In 2010, McMahon rejoined Coach Buzz Peterson at UNC-Wilmington for one season before coming to Murray State when Coach Prohm was hired in 2011.
McMahon’s expertise in college basketball is far reaching. Known in the field as an excellent recruiter, he also is among the best in the nation in the area of player development and game planning. In 2012, McMahon was named to the list of best assistant coaches by FoxSports.com and CollegeInsider.com.
The Racers’ 2014-15 season was another historic campaign that saw MSU become the first team in school history to go undefeated in the OVC at 16-0. The Racers also set the school and OVC record with a 25-game win streak that was second in the nation. MSU finished 29-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
“Similar to when we hired Coach Prohm, the desire of both current and former players, fans and community leaders alike, was to see Coach McMahon take the helm,” Ward added. “That reassurance, coupled with my respect and admiration for Matt personally and professionally, made this an easy decision. Coming off a historic season, knowing this will be a team in transition early in the year, it was imperative to give the players and new signees a sense of stability and continuity. Coupled with the fact that the important summer recruiting period is upon us and our foreign tour was fast approaching, moving quickly was undeniably in our best interest. Dr. Davies and I knew exactly who we wanted to target to ensure we didn’t miss a beat due to the unique timing of this staff change.”
“This morning, I had the opportunity to talk at length with Matt about his vision for the program,” Davies said. “This includes on the court as well as in the classroom. He talked candidly about the program, its current state coming off an historical season, and his vision for the future. He’s passionate about Murray State and it’s clear that he wants to be here to lead this program. Matt is viewed as one of the up-and-coming coaches in all of college basketball,” continued Davies. “He fits perfectly the ideal candidate profile that Murray State has attracted and enjoyed in its illustrious history. I look forward to watching all he’ll accomplish while leading the Racers for many years to come.”
“I can’t wait to get to work and move Racer Basketball forward building on the great tradition that is in place,” McMahon added.
McMahon, a native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., graduated from Appalachian State in 2000 with a degree in marketing. His wife Mary is a former standout for the Furman women’s basketball team. The couple has two daughters, Maris (6) and Mabry (2), and a son, Mason (4).