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Murray Wins First BBL Coaching Award


After an unbeaten run of results for Caledonia Gladiators, Head Coach Gareth Murray has won the Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month award for February, the first such award for the 38-year-old Scot in his third year coaching, after he retired from playing at the end of last season.

Going 5-0, the highlight in recent weeks was a BBL Trophy quarter final win over league-leaders London Lions in a gritty defensive game at Emirates Arena, that has since been followed on the first day of March with a road win at Derby Trailblazers to reach the BBL Trophy Final in their home city. It is the first time in nine years, and only second time overall, that the club has reached this stage and gives them an opportunity to lift the Trophy for the first time in their history.

There were also four BBL Championship wins in February that have propelled Gladiators into the top four of the league table in a hotly contested battle for play-off positioning. Most notable among those was a crucial home win over Cheshire Phoenix that secured the head-to-head against one of their closest rivals for those top four spots – Gladiators got off to a fast start in that game, and then produced an instant third quarter response after briefly falling behind.

They had opened the month with a big win of near equal importance, beating the fifth-placed Manchester Giants on the road live on Sky Sports. Murray’s coaching mettle was tested as they trailed by as much as 18 points in the first quarter, prompting an early timeout, but some line-up tweaks and huge performances from the bench helped ignite a run of 16 straight points in the second stanza, and they built from there and never trailed again.

Particularly pleasing for Murray – especially based on his career-long reputation as a player – will be the significant recent improvements in Caledonia’s defence, as they averaged just 68 points conceded in February’s five games, number two in the BBL and compared to 82 points previously, holding opponents to a stifling field goal percentage of just 38%.

Murray was away representing Great Britain as an Assistant Coach at the end of the month – trusting his own Assistant, Darryl Wood, to oversee the victory against Surrey Scorchers – as he continued his proud association with the national team, having won 58 caps as a player and as the nation’s top three-point shooter.

Murray and his Gladiators now face a huge month of March, that will include with the BBL Trophy Final on Sunday 26th March at Emirates Arena, Glasgow, live on Sky Sports, as well as a tough schedule of five league games on the road.



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