MHS Football Team Receives 2021 Randall Cruse Sportsmanship Award

MHS Football Team Receives Sportsmanship Award

During the  Murray High School Football Banquet the MHS Football Team celebrated the 2020-2021 season by receiving the first-ever 2021 Randall Cruse Sportsmanship Award voted on by the WKC First Region Football Officials. The award was presented by David Smithmier, veteran official and president of WKC. “On behalf of the Murray Independent Board of Education, I wish to congratulate the Murray Tiger Football Program, Coach Bowling and coaching staff on this accomplishment. The award acknowledges a program devoted to excellence on and off the field,” said Coy Samons, MISD superintendent.


Darren Bowling, MHS football coach, said the award is very meaningful to him and the MHS Football team.  "This award represents so much---it's how you play the game, and how you demonstrate your character to others, and teammates on and off the field."


Bowling said the award comes after a very successful 8-3 season. "The officials have always complimented our team and their exemplary character on the field."


The Banquet was held inside the Murray High School cafeteria and hosted by the MHS Quarterback Club.  Approximately 250 people attended the banquet, with numerous MHS Football alumni in attendance.  Community members sponsored individual MHS football players.  "There was an outpouring of support," Bowling said.  "Our Tiger football program is family, beginning in the second grade, and continuing through high school.  We want our family, including alumni who wore a uniform, not forgotten, as they are an intrical part of our program."


Bowling offered his appreciation and thanks the MHS Quarterback club for hosting the Football Banquet and for the staff, community, and friends who supported and attended the banquet.


Established in 1950, WKC recently split into first and second region.  After the division, the 49 officials who represent the first region decided to create their own sportsmanship award, named after Randall Cruse, who passed away in 2020 at 56 after a courageous cancer battle and officiated football and basketball in the KHSAA for approximately 30 years.  "Randall was out there for the students teaching them sportsmanship," he said.  "The award acknowledges coaches and players.  To me as an official who has traveled across the country officiating games, the sportsmanship award is the most prestigious award to win.  This award speaks to character.  "


Smithmier said it was unanimous by the officials to award the honor to Murray. "After receiving consecutive votes for MHS, our vote was unanimous," Smithmier said.   "We are officials, and everyone is human, and how you react through the game, even after a bad call, is witnessed by all of us.  We make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, everyone is human, and character on the field is very important."


Ann Greenfield, MHS Athletic director, said athletes and coaches are seen for their abilities, but when they win an award for sportsmanship, it goes above that.  “It speaks to their character.  Winning this award is a great honor for the football team and our school.  The officials are an important part of sports and whey they are treated with respect, it makes the game more enjoyable.  Congratulations Coach Bowling, his coaching staff, and most certainly the football players.”


Tony Jarvis, Murray High School principal, said Murray High has a long tradition of academic and athletic success.  "This award shows what we know about our student athletes, that they are awesome young people who work hard on and off the field.  It's a well deserved award and congrats to our coaching staff, players, and parents."