OAKMAN — Brad Murray has a busy schedule at Oakman High School.
As the agriscience teacher, FFA adviser, bass fishing coach and assistant football coach, Murray doesn’t have a lot of free time.
Now he has a little bit less.
Murray is the school’s new head baseball coach. He replaces Chris Coons.
“I didn’t know it would come this quickly, but I was always interested in becoming a head coach at the high school level,” Murray, 31, said. “I’m blessed to be here.”
He inherits a team coming off a Walker County Baseball Tournament championship as well as a state playoff appearance in Class 2A. Oakman, which was ranked in the top 10 for most of the season, finished 22-10 and was eliminated in the first round by Ranburne.
Murray is entering his third year at Oakman. He came to the school in Jan. 2011 as the ag teacher. He served as Coons’ assistant the last two-plus years.
Murray is a 2002 graduate of Hackleburg High School. Following high school, he played two years at Bevill State-Fayette. At Fayette, he was on a team that finished in third place at the Junior College World Series.
After his playing days were over, he attended Auburn University, getting his bachelor’s degree in 2007. He has since earned a pair of master’s degrees, in 2009 and 2011.
Initially, Murray, the son of two teachers, didn’t want to follow in his parents’ footsteps. Once his first career option didn’t pan out, he changed his mind.
“I always said I wasn’t going to (be a teacher). When I went back and got a master’s degree, one of the big pulls toward teaching was being able to coach,” Murray said.
When he started looking for a job, Oakman was looking for an ag teacher. Murray was the perfect fit. Since then, he has been a baseball assistant coach, football assistant on coach Mark Hastings’ staff as well as the school’s bass fishing team coach for the last two years.
But baseball has always come first.
“The last few years (high school) baseball has gone from a power game to a game where you have to be able to pitch well and play good defense. You have to be able to manufacture runs now,” Murray added. “My philosophy is to have every kid on the team with a high on-base percentage. I want to teach them to be able to sacrifice themselves as an out to move somebody into scoring position. When we get them into scoring position, we need to find a way to score them. A lot of times, you will find that when you get that rolling, it’s hard to stop.”
Oakman loses two of its top leaders off last year’s team, Case Key and Jase Trotter.
“We will have to depend heavily on our upcoming seniors. Those guys are going to have to step up big. They’ve always kind of sat back and let Case and Jase lead them. Now they are going to have to be the ones leading,” Murray added.
“We will start from Day 1, see what we’ve got and go from there,” said Murray, who is one of four new head baseball coaches in Waker County. Carbon Hill, Cordova and Curry also replaced their head coaches.
Oakman topped Dora in the county tournament in 2013, winning on a technicality when Dora’s pitcher went over the innings limit in the final game.