Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Updated May 2013
Murray Arnold became the 13th Head Men’s Basketball Coach in Chattanooga annals in 1979. He wasted little putting his stamp on the program in six seasons.
Arnold’s charges won a school-record 74.6 percent of their games with a 135-46 record. That includes a 74-22 (.771) mark in Southern Conference play. His squads won four Southern Conference Regular Season Championships and three SoCon Tourney titles.
There were three NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances in his six years on the bench. The Mocs won 21 or more games five seasons including a school-record 27 in 1982. That team went 27-4, defeated N.C. State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament a year before the Wolfpack’s Cinderella Championship and came within a whisker of making the Sweet 16 losing by one to Minnesota.
The 1983 season brought more of the same with a 26-4 record. That team also lost by a point in the NCAA Tourney this time to Maryland. It ended the year ranked No. 15 in the nation in the AP poll.
Arnold’s teams loved home cooking. They went 83-9 over his six seasons, a 90.2 winning percentage. His remarkable final five years saw the team tantalize the Scenic City with a 72-5 (.935) mark in Maclellan Gym and the sparkling new UTC Arena.
He won SoCon Coach of the Year honors twice in 1982 and 1983. He piloted 11 all-league performers with one SoCon Players of the Year (Willie White - 1982). Arnold had 13 All-SoCon Tournament members with Nick Morken (1981), Russ Schoene (1982) and White (1983) earning Most Outstanding Player. He also five NBA Draft picks join the Mocs in his short time with the program.
NOTABLE PLAYERS (Chronological Order)
Russ Schoene (1981-82): Russ was a second round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1982 NBA Draft. He is one of three members of the 1980 recruiting class to get drafted and one of four that went on to be inducted in the UTC Hall of Fame. He joined the program from Mineral Area Junior College and was a part of two SoCon Champion and NCAA Tournament squads.
Nick Morken (1981-82): Nick was a ninth round draft pick of the Golden State in the 1982 NBA Draft. He is one of three members of the 1980 recruiting class to get drafted and one of four that went on to be inducted in the UTC Hall of Fame. Like Schoene, he came from the juco ranks. Morken made an immediate impact at the point. He is forever remembered for his block of an App State shot in the closing seconds of the 1981 SoCon Championship game to seal the Mocs first SoCon Tourney title.
Willie White (1981-84): When discussions of the best player in school history come up, Willie is always quickly mentioned. He is the program’s DI era leading scorer with 1,969 points while adding 499 rebounds, 284 assists and 193 steals in his career. White was a three-time All-SoCon selection, 1982 league Player of the Year and 1983 SoCon Tourney MOP. He was a member of the McKenzie Arena 25th Anniversary Team and was a second round selection of the Denver Nuggets in the 1984 NBA Draft.
Stanford Strickland (1981-84): While others grabbed the headlines, Strickland did the blue collar work that sparked the Mocs rise to prominence under Arnold. A native of Chattanooga, he fashioned a Hall of Fame career of his own as a member of the prolific 1980 recruits. A two-time All-SoCon pick, he is one of six Mocs in the DI era to score 1,000 points and grab 500 boards.
Gerald Wilkins (1983-85): Gerald is right there with White a couple of others when fans recall the top players in Chattanooga’s enviable history. Wilkins, a second round draft selection of the New York Knicks in 1985, holds the school record for points (672) and scoring average (21.0) in a season in 1984-85. He was a two-time All-SoCon pick, made the McKenzie Arena 25th Anniversary Team and made the second team on the SoCon’s 75th Anniversary Team. His high-wire act going to the rim is legendary in the Scenic City as is his buzzer-beater at Lamar on a full-court pass from Eugene Deal to send the game into overtime. The Mocs captured the win to make it into the Elite Eight of the 1985 NIT. His 13 seasons in the NBA are the most by a Moc.
- UTC went 122-32 (.792) over Arnold’s last five campaigns.
- Clifford Morgan grabbed 540 rebounds over his two-year career. That’s the most by a junior college/transfer student-athlete in the school record books (DI era).
- Arnold’s teams claimed wins over N.C. State, Mississippi State, Georgia and Clemson.
Murray passed away November 13, 2012. He was survived by his beloved wife Ann Conn. He left Chattanooga to the NBA joining Stan Albeck’s Chicago Bulls staff in 1985 for one season. He later coached Western Kentucky (1986-90) and Stetson (1995-2000).