Cougars were 8-82 in Pac-10 under Murrell

Updated: April 5, 2007, 8:31 PM ET
Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State women's basketball coach Sherri Murrell has resigned, athletic director Jim Sterk said Thursday.

Saying she lacked energy to continue, Murrell, 39, just completed her fifth year as Cougars' head coach. Her teams compiled a 27-114 record, including just 8-82 in the Pacific-10 Conference.

The Cougars went 5-24 this season, finishing last in the Pac-10 for the fourth time in five years. They won only one of 18 conference games.

Sterk said Murrell told him Wednesday night she planned to resign. She met Thursday with her players to tell them her decision.

Sterk said athletic officials will begin a search for her replacement immediately.

"It's obviously a very emotional time for Sherri Murrell, her coaches and team and all of us who have worked with her," said Sterk, who last month told Murrell she could expect to stay at least another year. "She's leaving the program in better shape than when she arrived."

Murrell, who was a head coach at George Fox University and at University of the Pacific before coming to WSU in 2002, was an assistant at Pepperdine, Brigham Young and Portland State after finishing her playing career at Pepperdine.

Murrell said last season sapped her energy, and it wouldn't be fair to her players to continue.

"I put my heart and soul into this program," she said. "Unfortunately, the results didn't match the expectations."

Murrell said she has no immediate job prospects.

Sterk said Murrell's decision was "more about where the program was; her disappointment about not winning more games, taking them further, those kinds of things."

Cougars' women's teams have finished near the bottom of the conference since 1990, but Sterk and Murrell said WSU can have winning teams. Sterk pointed to the men's basketball team, which was picked to finish last but was the No. 2 team in the Pac-10 and went to the NCAA tournament.

Asked if former Washington coach June Daugherty, fired last month after her team lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament, would be considered as WSU seeks a replacement, Sterk replied: "Nothing would prevent her from being a candidate." He said a selection committee would look at numerous candidates.

Team captain Katie Appleton said Murrell's decision, announced just before a news conference called to announce her resignation, came as a surprise.

"I know that Coach Murrell and the staff put in a lot of hard work and I know they gave it their best shot," she said. "As a team, we wish Coach Murrell the best of luck. We love her and we hope she does well in the future."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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