Reflecting on 100 episodes of Runnin’ with the Racers: part 1

Murray State Associate Athletic Director of Communications & Public Relations Dave Winder interviews former men’s basketball head coach Billy Kennedy for an episode of Runnin’ with the Racers inside of the Murray State Hall of Champions.

MURRAY — It began with the simple idea of recording the history of Murray State Athletics in spoken word.

This week, the Runnin’ with the Racers Podcast celebrates its 100th episode. You can find it at, iTunes and Soundcloud.

The 100th edition of the program specifically focuses on the tremendous storytelling that has occurred since the program was first produced in late August 2018.

Here are some of the most memorable stories our guests have spoken of on the Runnin’ with the Racers Podcast.

Dacia Brown – Volleyball

Episode 8

Every once in a while, a moving and profound moment occurs after an emotional victory and this is what happened in October 2018 when the Racers won the OVC Women’s Volleyball Tournament championship in Clarksville over Austin Peay. The victory over the regular season winners on their home court was a fitting outcome after the Racers had split two games with the Govs during the regular season. The Racers were 13-3 and finished  second place behind the Govs at 14-2.

We caught up with senior leader Dacia Brown as everything she and her team had worked for was realized in that moment of victory, which also meant a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

 “I’m so happy. I was so scared coming into this, because I know the standard of Murray State Volleyball,” said a joyful Brown who was also on MSU’s championship teams from 2015 and 2016. “I know the people who came before me and how they impacted Murray State and I wanted to do that for my team this year. We grew a lot and had bumps in the road along the way; we matured and learned to trust each other. It paid off in the end.”

“When I heard that part of the podcast (Dacia’s audio) it brought tears to my eyes, because I’ve been with Dacia for five years,” said MSU Coach Dave Schwepker. “Where she started and where she ended up is unbelievable and to see how she has grown as a human. That maturity helped her play tremendously.”

In that moment, Brown’s tears of joy was a mixture of relief, thankfulness, satisfaction and being proud of a hard-earned accomplishment.

It also shows how much Racer student-athletes care about their team and their sport.

Brown’s clip originally posted to episode eight that featured Coach Frank Beamer. To hear more about the story of Dacia Brown, go to episode five from Sept. 26, 2018.

Coach Frank Beamer -  Football

Episode 8

Now to Coach Frank Beamer from the fall of 2018 when he visited MSU to be honored for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Coach Beamer was inducted into the Murray State Hall of Fame in 2004 and to the OVC Hall of Fame in 2016.

It all started for Beamer when friend and coaching colleague Ron Zook invited Beamer to Murray to visit and to watch film in the late 1970s. Beamer was an assistant coach at the time at The Citadel. However, even though he wasn’t looking for a job change, he liked Murray State and ended up taking the job as defensive coordinator for head coach Mike Gottfried in 1978.

It’s a story Beamer tells with a sparkle in his eye.

“Usually, when I was interested in a job, my wife Cheryl came with me,” Beamer remembered. “She didn’t come this time because I wasn’t looking for a job. I told Ron, OK, I’ll come. However, when I got to MSU, and I saw the beautiful stadium, it was fantastic. I remember calling my wife and telling her, I was starting to like this place. Later, after I’ve taken the job, we’re driving up through Tennessee to Murray and she’s asking me ‘where are you taking me?’ So I tell people, she came into Murray kicking and screaming and we met so many great friends there and when we left, she was kicking and screaming (because she didn’t want to leave).”

Under Beamer’s direction as head coach (1981-86), the Racers enjoyed a two-year stint in which they were nationally ranked in NCAA 1-AA and won the 1986 OVC championship. Beamer became head coach at MSU when Gottfried left to take the job at Cincinnati. The opportunity set Beamer on a course that eventually led him back to his alma mater, Virginia Tech for 29 seasons and to great accomplishments.

Coach Mike Gottfried – Football

Episode 62

Speaking of Mike Gottfried, he was our guest in the fall of 2019 in episode No. 62. He told the story about how he came to be the head coach at Murray State in 1978.

“I said coach, I’m going to Murray on Monday to interview for the job,” Gottfried said. “He said to me, ‘you call them Monday and tell them you’re not coming!’ But I said, coach, I want to go and he said ‘if I was your wife, I’d divorce you….going from Tucson to Murray?’ However, when I got here, our offices were better, our team was better, so I got the better of the bargain! My wife, Mickey and I are a team and we had a great time in Murray and will always remember it.”

Mike and his wife Mickey were back at MSU for homecoming in 2019 as many of his 1979 OVC championship team came back to campus to remember the good old days.

Coach Gottfried had a tremendous second career in the bright lights of television. He worked for ESPN for 17 seasons (1990-2007) and for a long time, was ESPN’s top expert analyst and you would see him working the best game of the week. Gottfried’s autobiography ``Coach’s Challenge – Faith Football and Filling the Father Gap” was finished in 2007. His efforts in helping young men without a father figure has been successful through his foundation called Team Focus.

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