Liberty, coach rewarded for success with Sollenberger spot
Originally published: Aug 22, 2013 - 12:00 am
Rich Muraco didn’t want the headaches that come with managing a high school football team, but he didn’t escape them.
The pain relief medication for the Nevada Liberty coach arrives in the form of the Friday night experience only high school football can provide.
“It’s exhilarating and fun when you step out on the field,” Muraco said.
This week, Muraco will receive his adrenaline rush dosage on Saturday, when his team battles southern Arizona stalwart Salpointe for a Sollenberger Classic trophy.
Appearing in the now nationally recognized showcase is a reward Liberty has earned thanks in part to a coach who reluctantly stepped into his role. Muraco has been at Liberty since the school’s first varsity season, but the program started to win once he took over as a head coach in 2009.
The program only won 14 games during Muraco’s tenure as an assistant, but Liberty is 41-11 since 2009. Last year the program appeared in its first Nevada state championship game.
Muraco didn’t apply for the head coach job in 2009, but was pushed into the opening by his administration and an assistant coach. Besides being an assistant football coach, Muraco also was Liberty’s head wrestling coach up until 2009.
Muraco didn’t credit himself for converting Liberty into a winner during Thursday’s Sollenberger Classic banquet at Nevada Bishop Gorman’s eye-popping facilities. He praised the efforts of his assistant coaches and first Polynesian players he coached for allowing Liberty to get off on the right foot.
Liberty’s administration rewarded — or maybe pushed — Muraco into another job. He also serves as that school’s athletic director.
“I’m crazy,” Muraco said.
He might be, but he is also good.
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