Posted: 4:11 pm Friday, March 4th, 2011
Summit Christian coach Murray Smith wants to clear the air after post-game press conference comments
By Jeff Greer
In an animated press conference after his team won the Class 1A state championship, Summit Christian coach Murray Smith made some light-hearted barbs about rival Grandview Prep. On Friday, he wanted to make sure he cleared the air about what he said.
Smith said he “was trying to be funny and cute” at his press conference and, a day later, stressed the amount of respect he had for Grandview coach Joe Dawson and his program. The long-time coach (and winner of three state titles — one at Summit and two at Cardinal Newman) said he’d caught some heat for his comments about players who recently transferred from Summit Christian to Grandview Prep.
“You’ve got parents over there with Grandview shirts on that I don’t want to see walk out of here winning because, you know what, you left us,” Smith said during the press conference. “You thought the grass was greener, and it’s green, but the grass doesn’t have a medal.”
One of my notes in my post-game blog post mentioned one of those players that switched schools — Grandview senior Don Stephens — but, in fairness, Smith did not call out any specific players when he spoke to reporters.
“My No. 1 message is, first of all, I have all the respect in the world for Joe Dawson and Grandview Prep,” Smith said. “Not just the ones who didn’t transfer. They’re always in the conversation for the state championships. Everywhere Joe’s been, Joe wins. Joe is a very classy guy. I don’t want it to be seen that I think Summit is all high and mighty. It was me trying to funny and cute.
“When the question was asked about Summit Christian vs. Grandview, I wasn’t thinking about any of Grandview’s players, Grandview’s coach. I was all fired up … The people that transferred, they transferred. I was not referring to one single kid.
“I didn’t want to lose to a team from our backyard. If I’m playing a team from the Panhandle or a team from Jacksonville, there’s no relationship with them. Look, every kid that left Summit for Grandview is a great kid and has a great family. They can do what they want … Because of all the Grandview-Summit talk, I just lost it for a minute.”
Smith also joked that it’d fun if his team could stick around and on Sunday play Dwyer, which is playing in the Class 5A state final on Saturday.
“I really respect people who did it year after year, year after year, like (Dwyer coach) Fred Ross and Joe Dawson have,” Smith said. “I just want those people to know … look, we might be the third best team in the county. Just because we won one game doesn’t mean we conquered the world.
“I tried to throw some humor in there. I was just rambling.”