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February 9, 2014

SHSU BASEBALL — Endowment for Bearkats baseball program named for Hall of Honor player

HUNTSVILLE — Over the past several years, Guinn “Hootie” Murray, who was on the 1963 Sam Houston State baseball team that won the NAIA national championship, has been active donating time and money to Sam Houston State athletics.

A few of Hootie Murray’s fellow alums and teammates returned the favor.

Thanks to former Bearkat and Murray’s teammate Bud Haney, for whom the new baseball video scoreboard and video board is named, and his brother, an endowment was established for the Bearkats baseball program and was named after Hootie Murray.

“Total, total surprise,” said Murray on the announcement about the endowment that was made by Sam Houston State athletic director Bobby Williams during the Bearkats Baseball Banquet and Auction on Saturday night.

“I know my brother, Mike, and my old teammate, Bud Haney, got together and did this. Mike just told me that other people were a part of it. It was quite a surprise. I tried to do things (for the Sam Houston State athletic department) because I wanted to.”

The endowment is in the amount of $50,000.

The interest that’s accrued will go back to the baseball program, which will then be transferred to the Kats in the next few months.

“Basically what will happen is that the interest on the $50,000 endowment will go toward the baseball program,” Williams said. “It will take about six to 12 months for the months for the interest to accumulate. Then, the baseball team can use that money for uniforms or whatever they’ll need.

“Hootie was a great Bearkat. He was a Hall of Honor baseball player. He was extremely successful in the history of our program. That alone, is honor enough, but what set Hootie apart is his service to our baseball program, our athletic program and our university. Whether it’s been helping us raise funds or just being there to visit with us and support us, he’s done a wonderful job in that area.”

Murray’s brother, Mike, was influential in helping to get the endowment up and running.

“This all started about a year ago when he was instrumental in bringing together all of the baseball players from all over the country on that 1963 championship team,” Mike Murray said. “Buddy Haney said we have got to do something. Buddy and I started talking about what could we do for Hootie that could involve Sam Houston. We came up with an endowment in his name that’s open-ended and people can continue to give money to fund that endowment for baseball.”

Murray was a member of three teams that competed in the NAIA World Series and also  had been involved in numerous fundraising activities for the Bearkats athletics program over the past several years.

“Because I played baseball, I’m just tickled to death that it’s going toward baseball,” Hootie Murray added. “I hope it helps and it can’t do anything but help. I’m thrilled with that.”

Additionally, former Bearkat pitcher Steve Sparks, who also pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics in the Major League from 1995-2004, was the keynote speaker for the banquet.

There was also an assortment of items available that were auctioned off such as an autographed jersey and football by record-breaking running back Timothy Flanders, trip to Playa del Carmen, an autographed jersey by Kansas City Royals’ Billy Butler, Oakland Athletics apparel, signed jersey and shoe by Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard and James Harden, respectively.

The 2014 Sam Houston State baseball season gets underway Friday night as the Bearkats begin a four-game series against Northern Colorado at Don Sanders Stadium.

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