American Football Database
Murray State Racers
Murray State Racers logo.svg.png
University Murray State University
Conference(s) Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Division I / FCS
Athletics director Kevin Saal
Location [[, |]], [[|]]
Varsity teams 14
Football stadium Roy Stewart Stadium
Basketball arena
Baseball stadium Reagan Field
Other arenas Racer Arena
Mascot Racer One and Dunker
Nickname Racers
Fight song The Old Grey Mare
Colors  and {{{color2}}}


Homepage [1]

The Murray State Racers are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing Murray State University (MSU), located in Murray, Kentucky, United States. The Racers athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC)[1] and competes at the NCAA Division I[2] level including the Football Championship Subdivision. The MSU teams are the Racers, the costumed racehorse mascot is named Dunker, the live racehorse football mascot is Racer-One, and the school colors are navy blue and gold. Racer teams have won three NCAA rifle championships.[3]

Sports sponsored

Murray State men's athletics began in 1925–25, the school's third year, with the first women's team following in 1928–29. Originally, the teams were known as the Thoroughbreds, but over time, sports writers and editors found the name Thoroughbreds to be too cumbersome, so they often shortened it "T-Breds", "Breds", "Race Horses", and "Racers". "Racers" began to grow in popularity through the late 1950s, and it was adopted as the official nickname in 1961 except by the baseball team which continued to be known as the Thoroughbreds or "Breds" until 2014. The women's teams were known as Lady Racers until "Lady" was officially dropped in 2007.[4]

A charter member of the Ohio Valley Conference, Murray State University sponsors five men's, nine women's and one co-ed teams in NCAA sanctioned sports.[5]


The Murray State football program first competed on the gridiron in 1924. The first game was a 0-0 tie against Union University. The Racers have had 45 winning seasons. Murray State has produced 33 All-American selections with 14 of them earning First Team All-American honors. Murray State's largest margin of victory over another Division I program came in 1932 when the Racers defeated the Louisville Cardinals by a score of 105-0. The Racers modern-day scoring record was set on October 9, 2010, with a 72-59 homecoming victory over the Missouri State Bears.[6]

Murray State's football rivalries have historically been with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The rivalry with the Hilltoppers began in 1931, and it later became an annual trophy game known as the Battle for the Red Belt.

The Murray State football program has become a steppingstone to major-college coaching success. Five former Murray State coaches have gone on to head coaching positions at BCS schools.

  • Mike Gottfried served as head coach of the Racers from 1978 to 1980. He was recognized as OVC Coach of the Year in 1979. Gottfried went on to coach the Cincinnati Bearcats, Kansas Jayhawks, and Pittsburgh Panthers.
  • Ron Zook served as a secondary coach at Murray State under Gottfried from 1978 to 1980. Zook went on to become the head coach of the Florida Gators from 2002 to 2004 and the Illinois Fighting Illini from 2005 to 2011, and is now a college football studio analyst with CBS.
  • Frank Beamer served as head coach of the Racers from 1981 to 1986. After leaving Murray State, Beamer went on to build the Virginia Tech program into a national power through the 1990s and early 2010s.
  • Ralph Friedgen was an assistant coach at Murray State under Frank Beamer in 1981. Friedgen was head coach at Maryland from 2001 to 2010.
  • Houston Nutt was head coach of the Racers from 1993 to 1996. He was recognized as the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year in 1996 and the OVC Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996 while coaching the Racers. Nutt went on to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks to three SEC division titles, and he also served as the head coach of Ole Miss from 2008 to 2011. In his first two years at Ole Miss, Nutt coached the Rebels to back-to-back Cotton Bowl Classic victories. Nutt is now a studio analyst for CBS.

In addition to the success of former Racer football coaches, former players have also gone on to achieve major successes. Former Racer quarterback Justin Fuente was named head football coach of the Memphis Tigers in 2011. As a player, Fuente was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1999. As a senior in 1999, Fuente set school season records for passing yards (3,498), attempts (400), completions (240) and touchdowns (27). Fuente still holds the MSU record for most 300-yard passing games with 10. He was named head coach at Virginia Tech in 2016, succeeding former Racer head coach Frank Beamer.[7]

The Racers have appeared in only one bowl game, when they were invited to the 1949 Tangerine Bowl. This was only the third installment of the Tangerine bowl, which is now known as the Capital One Bowl. The Racers played to a 21-21 tie against Sul Ross State University. The Racers were coached by Fred Faurot, who was the younger brother of legendary Missouri Tigers coach Don Faurot.[8]

Ohio Valley Conference Championships

1948, 1950, 1951, 1979, 1986, 1995, 1996, 2002

Bowl game appearances

1949 Tangerine Bowl

National championships


Association Division Sport Year Opponent/
NCAA Division I Rifle[9] (2) 1985 West Virginia 6,150–6,149 (+1)
1987 West Virginia 6,205–6,203 (+2)


Murray State's biggest rival is Western Kentucky University of Conference USA. The Racers also have a well known in-conference rivalry with Austin Peay State University.

Western Kentucky

In 1922, the Murray State Normal School was chartered as a state-supported teacher training institution, because the Western Kentucky State Normal School and Eastern Kentucky State Normal School could no longer produce a sufficient number of teachers to support the growing demand in the state. Located only 120 miles away from one another, and both in the western portion of the state, Murray State and Western Kentucky quickly became known as sister institutions as well as fierce competitors. In 1941, prior to a SIAA championship game between the Racers and Hilltoppers, Murray State President James H. Richmond remarked, "We are always happy when we can defeat our chief rival and greatest friend."

Football rivalry

The football rivalry with Western Kentucky began with a Hilltopper victory on October 24, 1931. In 1939, both institutions strengthened the rivalry by scheduling the match up as the final game of their regular seasons. This tradition continued, with only four interruptions, for the next 46 years. In 1948 both schools joined together to form the Ohio Valley Conference, where Murray won the first championship in football. The football rivalry was cemented as an annual trophy game in 1978 known as the Battle for the Red Belt. The annual meetings between the two teams ended in 2000, but the Battle for the Red Belt is still played on in intermittent basis. The last game was played in 2008 when a record crowd of 22,297 in Bowling Green watched the Hilltoppers beat the Racers 50-9 and maintain possession of the Red Belt. The Racers and Hilltoppers have met 67 times in football, with Western Kentucky leading the series 36-24-7.[10][11]


  1. "OVC Member Institutions". Ohio Valley Conference. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  2. "Murray State University". NCAA. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  3. "Murray State Championships". Racer Athletics. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  4. "It's Your Decision" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  5. "Murray State Racers". Racer Athletics. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  6. "Murray State University Racers Athletics". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. "Justin Fuente Bio – GOTIGERSGO.COM – The Official Website of the University of Memphis Tigers". Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  8. Mike McHugh (21 July 2008). "Luck o' the fighting Irish". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  9. "NCAA Rifle Championships Results". NCAA. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  10. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  11. Dusty Luthy. "And One". Retrieved 14 June 2015.

External links

Template:Murray State University