For 40 years, Peter Murray has been a basketball coach, the majority of which was spent at Dexter Regional High School.
After 30 years as head coach and more than 300 wins, Murray is calling it a career on the sideline.
“There is never a good time to walk away, but I knew I was getting near the end, getting to the end of my teaching career and thought this year after 30 years, it was a good round number,” Murray said. “It might be a good time to get out. I made the decision but it was not easy to make.”
Murray started his coaching career as a student assistant at Dirigo High School while attending the University of Maine Farmington in 1982. In 1983, Murray began his teaching career at Dexter and became the freshman boys basketball coach. That same year, Murray started the girls soccer program at Dexter and coached tennis.
For 11 years, Murray was a sub-varsity coach before taking over the boys varsity position from Ed Guiski. For the next 30 years, through this past season, Murray has been the head coach of the Dexter boys program.
He amassed more than 300 wins and led Dexter to three Class C state title game appearances in 2005, 2020 and 2022. These accomplishments weren’t ever expected by Murray when he began as head coach.
This past season, Dexter went 16-2 in the regular season and lost to Fort Kent in the Class C North semifinals.
“Never would I have guessed I would stay as long as I have,” Murray said. “I know when coach Guiski got 300 wins, and we celebrated it, I thought it was an unbelievable thing he did, and I thought there would be no way I’d see that number. It’s one of those things that caught up on me year after year, but you don’t think about it — you’re focused on the next year.”
Over the past five years Murray was thinking about when he would end his basketball coaching career.
Murray also spent 31 years as a girls soccer coach and will continue to coach the tennis program through this year and possibly next, as he has committed to one more year of teaching at Dexter. He believes this is either his 32nd or 33rd year as a tennis coach.
Having coached for so long, Murray has made many friends across the state, many of which are fellow basketball coaches. The friendship is something he will take with him to his post-coaching life.
“What I take away that means the most is the number of people I’ve met through basketball,” Murray said. “The players who played here, families, I have been so lucky with fantastic families and kids. Some of my closest friends are basketball coaches and I’ve been fortunate to meet people from Aroostook County to York County… Basketball coaching is a shared experience and so many people in various communities are having the same experiences, both good and bad, so it’s a good sounding board.”
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of Class C state championship basketball games Dexter made under Peter Murray’s tenure. He led Dexter to three state championship game appearances.