Former Washington Capitals head coach Bryan Murray died at the age of 74 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer on Saturday.
Murray coached the Caps for nine seasons. He remains the longest-tenured (672 games) and winningest head coach (343 wins) in team history. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1983-84 as coach of the year. Murray's legacy within the Capitals organization is further ingrained given that he also coached the Hershey Bears in the AHL. He became the head coach in 1980 and served there until he was promoted to Washington in the 1981-82 season.
The team released the following statement following Murray's death:
The Washington Capitals organization was saddened to learn of the passing of Bryan Murray. Bryan’s contributions to the game of hockey were outstanding, from his impact in Washington to his more recent service as a senior hockey advisor with the Ottawa Senators. Bryan shaped the lives and careers of countless players. Under his leadership, the Capitals saw the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In seven full seasons with Washington, Bryan led the team to the playoffs each year, and won the Jack Adams Award in 1984. Not only do we recognize his service to the Capitals, but also across several facets of the National Hockey League. Bryan devoted an incredible life to the sport, and his presence will be deeply missed. We offer our condolences to the Murray family, friends, staff, players and all those whom he touched throughout his storied career.
Murray's NHL career spanned 35 years as a head coach and executive. In addition to the Caps, he also coached the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Ottawa Senators. Murray led the Senators to an Eastern Conference Championship in 2007. His overall coaching record was 620-465-131-23.
In 2014, Murray was diagnosed with colon cancer. He stepped down as general manager of the Senators in 2016 due to the illness.
Murray was known for his hockey career, but respected for his character. He was universally known to all who met him as a good person as the outpouring of sadness from around the hockey world that came following the news of his death can attest.
"Bryan Murray's strength and character were reflected in the teams he coached and the teams he built over decades of front office excellence," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "While his warmth and dry sense of humor were always evident, they were accompanied by the fiery competitiveness and determination that were his trademarks. As we mourn Bryan's passing, we celebrate his many contributions to the game -- as well as his courage. The National Hockey League family sends our deepest condolences, comfort and support to Bryan's family, his many friends and all whose lives he influenced."
Very sad to hear. The man was an absolute giant in Caps and hockey history. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/tYfjUTWk6X— Japers'👻Rink (@JapersRink) August 12, 2017
A great hockey mind. May he RIP. https://t.co/yYLqlU5Sr0— Zack Fisch (@zackfisch) August 12, 2017
Media folk are always asked who's a good guy, who isn't. Bryan Murray has been top 5 on my good guy list for 30 yrs. A tremendous loss.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 12, 2017
A great man passes, RIP Bryan Murray. Caps fans and entire organization send prayers to his family https://t.co/IenEzhyMiz— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) August 12, 2017
All of hockey mourns the passing of Bryan Murray. A gentleman and professional through it all. The game is a lesser place today. Godspeed.— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) August 12, 2017
I am heartbroken today with the news of the passing of Bryan Murray.He had a "huge" impact on me and my family and the hockey world. RIP— Craig Laughlin (@Laughlin18) August 12, 2017