Washington men’s golf coach Alan Murray quickly adapts to new surroundings

Murray, who grew up outside Dublin, Ireland, and coached the last several years at Alabama-Birmingham, has adopted UW’s traditions while making few program changes.

The new men’s golf coach at the University of Washington likes to say he is “fishing in a bigger pond” than the one he left.

Alan Murray is a 39-year-old Irishman who was hired last August to replace Matt Thurmond after Thurmond’s stunning departure to Arizona State after 15 years and three Pac-12 titles at UW. At ASU, Thurmond replaced Tim Mickelson, brother of famous Phil.

Murray was named national men’s collegiate golf coach of the year in 2014 by Golfweek for his success at Alabama-Birmingham. It was an award Thurmond, a Burlington native, won in 2009.

“The whole transition has been great,” Frank Garber, a junior from Kirkland on the team, said of the coaching change. “Alan is really committed to the team and everyone on it and wants to see everyone succeed.”

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The 40th-ranked Huskies excelled in the classroom in the fall, compiling a team grade-point average of 3.32, which was better than any other UW men’s sport.

“We say to the guys, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything,’ ” Murray said.

The Huskies haven’t matched their classroom performance on the course yet but have had flashes of brilliance in a sport where what really matters are three spring tournaments — the Pac-12 championship, NCAA regionals (May 15-17 at Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish) and the NCAA championship tournament, which the Huskies failed to make last year.

“We are a better team than the results have shown,” Murray said.

Rather than be interviewed in his office, Murray chose the athletic cafeteria in Conibear Shellhouse with its view of Lake Washington.

“I like the lake,” he said. He also likes the Seattle area, which he said reminds him of Ireland “but with more evergreen…

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