Spartans Director of Athletics practices what he preaches

Watching a big guy gently toss a 1.5 kilogram disc way across the turf at Rotary Stadium does not conjure up an image of your run-of-the mill Athletic Director, chairing day-long meetings and negotiating team budgets with recalcitrant coaches while packing on a pound or two sitting in that stuffy chair.

Murray Hall is serious about throwing that biscuit record distances this coming week during athletic competitions during the B.C. Seniors Games in Rotary Stadium. Lest you think these are just a bunch of worn-out old has-beens at all those venues, you should know there are more than a handful, like this newly-minted senior discus-thrower, who have a history in elite National and Olympic competition.

Having just turned 55 it is Hall's first crack at the B.C. Seniors Games.

"This will be sweet," smiles the Abbotsford athlete who is in his 23rd year as Athletic Director at Trinity Western University. "It's my first time and competing right here in Abbotsford will be great!"

You get the idea this guy's getting a little tired of being upstaged by younger Spartan Athletic teams winning Canada West and Canadian titles in soccer and volleyball from a little enclave he took into elite Canadian university competition just six years ago.

So Murray Hall recently ventured to Seattle and Shoreline Stadium, where he posted a B.C. age-class record of 42.12 metres and vaulted right to the top of Canada's 2006 age-class rankings. That number one ranking equates well as the number nine ranking in all of North America this year.

"I feel really great about my throwing right now," relates Hall, "most of throwers are finding their distances falling a bit while mine are climbing." During the coming Seniors Games he's gunning for the Canadian record of 42.93 metres, just a mere .81 metres from his B.C. mark.

Murray Hall came back to athletics 12 years ago after years of inactivity following degenerative back problems.

In his younger days he was the Northern Ontario high school champion competing from his home town of Sault Ste. Marie, where he was an all-round athlete in track, football and basketball. In university he concentrated on basketball and was mentored by the likes of former National team coach, Ken Shields at Laurention University in Sudbury and under a Canada West legend, Guy Vetrie, when he was at the University of Saskatchewan.

After returning to the throwing circle, Murray got a boost at the 1998 World Nike Games in Eugene, Oregon in the Mecca of international athletics - historic old Hayward Field - made famous by legendary runner Steve Prefontaine and Coach Bill Bowerman of Nike development fame. There Hall picked off a gold medal he has proudly framed and shows off to this day.

Asked why he selected throwing rather than, say, masters basketball which is so popular in Abbotsford, Hall says "In an individual sport you can progress at your own rate and in your own time without being tied to a team schedule. I try to be a good student of the sport because I read a lot and study (techniques)."

By the way, if there's a coach out there looking for a top-flight athlete, Murray Hall may be your guy. Unlike many an athlete looking for a good coach early, Hall has come all this way largely on his own. But he admits, "I'm looking for a good coach."

In an almost eloquent way, Murray Hall personifies the trademark Complete Champion Approach philosophy that he and his Spartan coaches have pioneered at Trinity Western University. It has also enhanced his recognition in 2002 as the International Athletic Director of the Year by the NCAA in the United States.

An ideal role model, you might say.

*Story courtesy of Scott Stewart, Sports Information Director, TWU

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum