Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-08-27
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event Attendees board 
'Soul Train' 
at ALCC event
The AIDS Legal Council of Chicago's (ALCC's) annual summer bash took place ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Sherri Murrell: The only out Division I college basketball coach
SPORTS
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2012-11-14

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Three years ago, Sherri Murrell was approached by an administrator at Portland State University, where she is the head women's basketball coach, to see if she'd like a photo of her family included in the team's annual media guide, just as other coaches do.

It was a casual offer that she immediately agreed to, not even thinking twice about it.

"That's what started this whole firestorm," said Murrell, who is the only openly gay Division I women's college basketball coach.

She has been at Portland State since 2007 and been a head coach at three other schools dating back to 1993. She was an assistant coach during 1990-1993 at three schools—Pepperdine, BYU and George Fox—and at Portland State from 1996-98.

"I have had nothing but good responses" since coming out, Murrell said. "I have not had one negative response, and I thought for sure I'd get some backlash from some who just didn't care for my lifestyle. But I've had nothing but [a] great reception."

Murrell, 44, played at St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Ore., and was a starter on the school's 1985 state championship team. She then played college basketball for two seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette before transferring to Pepperdine for two seasons, where she was named to the All-West Coast Conference team as a point guard.

"It's always kind of funny when I hear that I am the only [out Division I women's college basketball head coach] … because it's 2012 and it's all around us. I think there are a lot of people who are in this business who [also are gay], but to be the only openly out Division I coach just seems odd."

Murrell coached at Washington State during 2002-2007, yet resigned with three years remaining on her contract "because I just was not happy," she said.

Nor was she out at the time.

"When I chose to coach at Portland State, I knew that I could be myself, could have my family around, and not feel like I have one life [as the coach] and also lead another when I get out of the office. I can be myself [at Portland State]; I can have a picture of my family on my desk.

"The people at Portland State have been very supportive and just believe in me as a coach."

Murrell has compiled a combined 98-60 record at Portland State, highlighted by three consecutive postseason appearances. The team played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2010.

"I get emails almost daily, from coaches and players, who say that they want to be in this profession [but] only if I feel comfortable—and that I give them hope to do that," Murrell said. "I think there's a generation of people who want to coach, but definitely want to make sure that they're comfortable.

"My partner and I made a conscious decision that my next job [after leaving Washington State,] that I wanted to make sure I was able to be out."

In fact, during her job interview at Portland State, she told administrators that she is a lesbian and asked if that was going to be a problem or an issue. They said, absolutely not. She was told that being out would not affect her job in any way.

Still, she said, "It's sad that I had to ask that, but that's what the fear is and why a lot of coaches are not out."

Murrell's on-court success at Portland State is definitely related to her openness about her off-the-court lifestyle, she said.

"Portland is a great city and Portland State is a great university—and I know I'm going to be a better coach because [I am open, out,] she said. "Being out has made me a better coach because, this is who I am; I don't try to compartmentalize my life. It meant the world to me that I found a university that just first believed in me as a coach and that is OK with my lifestyle.

"It takes a lot of effort, especially as a coach, to hide who you are. In the past, when I coached and was not out, it took effort, and yet you want the complete focus to be on being an amazing coach, making change in kid's lives. So all of my efforts now go into that.

"It's a freedom, to be the best that you can be."

Murrell said people, no doubt, assumed or speculated about her sexual orientation at her other coaching stops, but it wasn't talked about. "Now that I'm out, and talking about it, I think that's what separates me from a lot of people," she said.

"There's so much homophobia in sports, yet we're all trying to work together to end that. I thought coming out who help other coaches also come out, but that hasn't happened."

Murrell said the most memorable responses she's received since coming out have been from students who want to get into coaching: "I really feel [those students] are going to be the change in the world. They tell how they were likely not going to get into coaching, but that I now give them hope to do that. That's the change we're going to see.

"I want women to follow their dream, their passion, and not have to get out of [the profession] because of homophobia; that would be really sad to me."

Knowing now the fallout, or lack thereof, to her coming out, Murrell said she would have come out, "a heckuva lot earlier because it has been a good experience for me."

She said she could have come out while at Washington State because the setting and timing were right, but didn't. "All things happen in good timing—and it happened just right for me," she said.

Murrell said she has been widely accepted in Portland and around campus, particularly for her boldness and honesty.

"Being a champion is really about us coming together and accepting and including everyone on the team, and really pushing hard for a common goal," Murrell said. "We all come from different religious, socio-economic backgrounds, upbringings, etc. Being a champion includes acceptance.

"These kids don't care [about your sexual orientation]. They just want you to be a good coach, to teach them and help them be successful; that's what they care about the most.

"One thing I often hear [from closeted coaches] is, 'Others will think I will have a gay program [if I come out], that I'm only going to recruit gay players, that it's going to be known as a gay program.' Are you kidding me? When I go out recruiting, I look for the best player, the best person, the best academic person. I could care less what they do in their personal lives, who they choose to love.

"I think that's the same thing they want from me—a coach who can lead them to a championship, a coach who is going to care for them."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

German historian talks 'lesbian-like' German suffragists 2014-08-31
Sam cut by St. Louis was strictly 'a football decision' 2014-08-30
Women's Words Film Fest premieres shorts 2014-08-29
Street being named for Women & Children First Bookstore 2014-08-28
FGG co-president opens up on Gay Games past, present, future 2014-08-27
Sky to Face the Indiana in WNBA Eastern Finals 2014-08-27
Wanda Sykes talks kids, family and hitting the road 2014-08-27
Indigo Girls joining Nettles Aug. 29 in Aurora 2014-08-27
NLJGA 2014: Diversity coverage hits and misses discussed 2014-08-24
NLGJA 2014: Panel maps the future of lesbian media 2014-08-24
Chicago Dragons competing for Bingham Cup in Australia 2014-08-21
Chicagoan captures bodybuilding gold medal at Gay Games 9 2014-08-20
Streisand's new CD; Bourdain's support; Latifah's kiss 2014-08-20
Out Chicago rabbi heads to Israel for advanced studying 2014-08-20
Sept. 7 Victory Fund event to feature Houston's mayor 2014-08-20
Honors roll in for UIC researcher 2014-08-20
Jane Lynch to announce Jeff Award nominations 2014-08-19
'Epic Fail Challenge 5K' Aug. 23 at Soldier Field 2014-08-19
Spurs hire NBA's first women assistant coach 2014-08-19
NBA referee weds partner 2014-08-19
The loss of queer space: Parlour on Clark 2014-08-19
Three couples tie the knot in festive fashion 2014-08-19
'Orange' wins Creative Emmys 2014-08-17
WNBA players Griner, Johnson engaged 2014-08-16
Chicagoans celebrate gold and more at Gay Games 9 2014-08-15
Chicago Rowing Union wins gold at Gay Games 9 2014-08-15
Greg Louganis helps kick off Gay Games Opening Day 2014-08-14
Tales of a Stage 4 Cancer: One woman plus one woman comedy show 2014-08-14
Arizona State football player comes out as gay 2014-08-14
Gay-rights activist receives baseball award 2014-08-13
Lesbians Who Tech network at The Brixton 2014-08-13
Affinity conference takes on post-marriage equality issues 2014-08-13
Lesbian drama 'Anatomy' on Vimeo 2014-08-13
Former bookstore owners reflect on local legacy 2014-08-13
Fertility group talks options for lesbians 2014-08-12
Michael Sam debuts in NFL 2014-08-12
'Out at the Sox' Aug. 16 2014-08-12
Houston Mayor Parker at Sept. 7 Victory Fund Chicago event 2014-08-12
Willa Taylor showcases Goodman Theatre's original behind the script talents 2014-08-11
PASSAGES: Veronica "Ro" Gazzillo (nee Soper), Force assistant coach 2014-08-11





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event
 
DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire
 
Michael Jackson tribute Aug. 28-30 in Gary, Indiana
 
Way-out Wizard World: costumes, characters, artists
 
Before we go moving the Pride Parade...
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.