Remembering Rocky Murray’s accomplishments as athlete and coach
Barry Strassler, past sports editor, Silent News and
Peter Badavas, of the Department of Athletics & Physical Education,
Maryland SD, worked together on this story.
Rocky coached Maryland football in the 1999 season, helping the
team do a turnaround from a 1-8 record to a 7-2 record. Team was
ranked #3 in the nation, behind Texas and Model, earning Rocky
the Coach of the Year honors by Silent News and the
Frederick News Post newspaper.
Murray was part of the revolving door of four football coaches in
four seasons (Coleman 1-8, Murray 7-2, Reins 3-6, Bonheyo 8-1).
Yet the class of 2001 seniors picked up enough football skills from
Murray to carry over to the following two seasons, ending up with
Maryland’s first national football championship.
Rocky was a rarity for a big deaf schools by performing dual coaching
duties (football and basketball) in that season. Not too many coaches
can do that any more.
At Indiana School for the Deaf, he coached football for two seasons
(2002 and 2009).
Rocky was basketball head coach at MSD from 1994-98 and 1999-00.
In the 1995-96 basketball season, Rocky flipflopped from a
6-16 record to a 14-7 record that included their first ESDAA
championship since 1993 (Bush). The championship game with host
American SD was a chess match. It was a 2-0 first quarter score, 15-14
half time score, and 33-31 final score despite American’s slow down
efforts. Maryland was ranked #6 in the nation that season.
Rocky brought his team to Bama Classic (renamed to Hackney Classic) during
1996-1997 season and was the only deaf opponent to give Alabama (32-2) a
run for their money in the entire season, losing by 5 points. That
defeat was significant for Alabama was a Final Four team in
the state tournament that season. Maryland (13-10) was a repeat
ESDAA champion and finished #5 among deaf teams in the nation.
Unfortunately, Western Pennsylvania (19-8 with #4 in the nation) won it’s
first ESDAA championship in 50 years at it’s home court over Murray’s
squad in 1997-98. Maryland finished 12-10 with #6 in the nation.
Murray didn’t coach in 1998-99 but returned for another season in
1999-2000, this dual sport coaching season.
As an athlete at Indiana SD and Gallaudet, he was inducted into
the Indiana School for the Deaf Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
* Still holds the football school record with most carries (44) in a game
(1985 vs. West Washington)
* During his senior year, he rushed for 1,086 yards in a season (1986)
* Member of 1983 Deaf Prep Football National Champions team as Freshman
(under Coach Ernie Grubb)
* Member of 1987 Deaf Prep Boys Basketball National Champions team as
Senior (Under Coach Bob Kovatch)
* Graduated from Indiana School for the Deaf in the Spring of 1987
along with Brian Bippus
* At Gallaudet he played football and basketball, and in one football
game, he played two different positions (offensive tackle and running