Murray State hires Kennedy as new head coach

Updated: April 12, 2006, 1:27 PM ET

MURRAY, Ky. -- Murray State named Miami assistant Billy Kennedy as its new men's basketball coach on Wednesday.

This is the third head coaching job for Kennedy, who spent eight seasons at the helm for Southeastern Louisiana and Centenary before joining Frank Haith's staff this past season.

Kennedy, 42, replaces Mark Cronin, who stepped down last month to become Cincinnati's new coach. In the third and final season under Cronin, the Racers went 24-7, winning both the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season and postseason titles. In its second NCAA Tournament berth in three years, Murray State lost to North Carolina in the first round.

"I'm so excited to be here at Murray State," Kennedy said. "For me, the biggest attraction of all is how the fans and students of Murray State are basketball-crazy. I'm looking forward to experiencing it and continuing the great Racer tradition."

Reaching the "Big Dance" is nothing new for Kennedy, who guided Southeastern Louisiana to a school-record 24-9 campaign and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in his final season with the school in 2004-05.

"Billy is a proven recruiter, proven coach, a class act and a proven winner," athletic director Allen Ward said. "I am confident he will continue the winning tradition that is established and expected at Murray State."

In six seasons with the Lions, Kennedy went 80-94 with a pair of Southland regular-season titles. Before that, he compiled a 24-32 record in two seasons with Centenary.