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Bill Murray, Luke Murray

After Luke Murray was named Xavier assistant coach in May 2015, Musketeers forward Sean O'Mara immediately got a text. O'Mara's dad wanted him to know the school had hired Bill Murray's son.

"Honestly, I think my dad was more excited about it than I was," O'Mara said.

Having Bill Murray's kin as coach certainly adds a cool factor to Xavier basketball, but the 67-year-old movie star, who reached his apex in the 1980s and 1990s, is a bigger deal to the parents of the team's current players.

"He's probably more of a different era," Luke said.

Forward Tyrique Jones, 20, didn't really know the name of the Ghostbusters and Stripes star until his AAU coach showed him a picture of the actor via his phone.

Bill Murray In Space Jam

Senior guard Trevon Bluiett appropriately loves the basketball flick Space Jam, but O'Mara, who was born in 1995, said most of his generation remembers Bill for the 2009 film Zombieland in which he had a small -- but memorable -- cameo. J.P Macura, the team's second-leading scorer last year, peppered Bill with questions about that movie.

Often seen cheering on the Musketeers from the stands during the NCAA tournament, Bill goes to a handful of Xavier games and stops by during the offseason. When head coach Chris Mack enters the Cintas Center elevators, he sometimes sees Bill leaving it.

"You feel like you're in a SportsCenter commercial," Mack said. "It's cool."

Downcast after last year's 76-61 road loss to Baylor, assistant coach Mike Pegues rode on the team bus next to Bill, who spent half an hour excitedly talking about a bottle of rum he had purchased overseas. The conversation helped lift the coach's spirits.

"That was pretty special for me," said Pegues, the team's big-man coach. "I became quickly fascinated by this whole rum story."

Coaches and players alike also mentioned how Luke helps create an enjoyable basketball environment. O'Mara bought a T-shirt that says, "Gunga, Galunga" -- the words that Bill's Carl Spackler character in Caddyshack claims the Dalai Lama spoke to him -- and said he planned to wear it in front of Luke "just to mess with him."

The fun give-and-take and famous father aside, Luke is a serious basketball grinder and an up-and-coming coach at one of college basketball's most consistent programs.

Xavier has reached the Sweet 16 six times in the past 10 years and won at least 20 games four years in a row, including last year's 24-14 team, which fell one game short of the Final Four.

Bill Murray, Luke Murray

From scouting to recruiting to player development, Luke has drawn praise for his basketball acumen.

"He's really sharp," Pegues said. "There's not a player he doesn't know, there's not a coach he doesn't know, there's not a style of play he isn't familiar with."

Luke set an ambitious goal of becoming an assistant coach by age 25. He accomplished that objective when Wagner hired him in 2010. And the 32-year-old, who is his 10th year working in college basketball, likely will be a Division-I head coach one day.

"There's no doubt," Mack said. "When that time comes, he'll be completely prepared to run his own program."


The son of Bill and his first wife, Margaret Kelly, Luke was born in Paris, France. The Murrays moved there because Bill wanted to avoid the attention that enveloped Ghostbusters, following its 1984 opening, so they went abroad about six months into Kelly's pregnancy.

Shunning the spotlight can be typical for the comedic legend. Bill was reportedly wanted for major roles in Bad Santa and Iron Man, but film executives were unable to reach him. Through several intermediaries, Bill declined interview requests from ThePostGame.

"He won't respond," Luke said. "What will happen is he'll call me and he'll chastise me."

Luke, who used to have dual citizenship, only spent the first few weeks of his life in France. He grew up in New York City, splitting his time between homes in the city and Rockland County. Those East Coast roots have become a valuable recruiting tool for a program that joined the Big East just two years before hiring Luke.

Like his father, Luke is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. Bill played basketball recreationally into his 40s and 50s, though never for his high school, Loyola Academy, in suburban Chicago. During his teenage years, he worked as a caddy, which, of course, helped inspire Caddyshack. Bill is also a part-owner of minor league baseball's St. Paul Saints.

Luke Murray

"He's obviously a lover of sports," Luke said. "He was kind of the driving force for me to get into sports as a young kid."

When Luke was 9 or 10 years old, he began attending local high school basketball games. And when he played AAU ball as a young teenager, he often stayed to watch the older, highly recruited players.

While attending Fairfield University, he remained involved in the AAU scene. He coached the New York Gauchos, and one of the squad's best players, Tu Holloway, attended Xavier after initially committing to Indiana before Kelvin Sampson was forced out.

Through Holloway, the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, Luke developed a relationship with Mack and Sean Miller, Mack's predecessor as Xavier head coach.

Miller hired Luke as a graduate assistant when he went on to coach Arizona. It was under Miller that Luke began to really develop as a coach, including honing his strategy and gameplanning.

"I learned practically everything," Luke said.

Perhaps he learned it too well. Luke and Mack bested their former boss when Xavier upset Miller's No. 2-seeded Arizona squad, 73-71, in the Sweet 16 last season.

As part of a scandal that rocked college basketball, another Gauchos coach and former Miller assistant, Emanuel "Book" Richardson, was charged in September with allegedly taking bribes and paying a recruit to commit to Arizona. Richardson coached Xavier from 2007 to 2009.

"This whole thing is well after his time here," Luke said.

Along with Miller, another important mentor for Luke was Dan Hurley, the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley and brother of former Duke star and current Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley.

Luke coached under Dan at Wagner and Rhode Island, learning his aggressive, full-court pressure style. Mack reached out to Hurley when he was looking to hire Luke.

Bill Murray At Xavier Game

"He said, 'he's the best. No one will outwork him,'" Mack said. "'He'll do a phenomenal job for you.'"

At Xavier, Luke is a versatile assistant, though he specializes in defense and developing the perimeter players. He often spearheads the recruiting efforts in the Northeast and Chicago, where his father grew up.

He was the point man on Jones, a 6-9 sophomore from Bloomfield, Connecticut, who started half of the games in Big East play as a freshman. Luke courted him, watching him play multiple times and texting and calling him frequently while reminding him that playing at Xavier would be arduous but fulfilling.

"I felt like I could trust him," Jones said. "I know if I have a bad practice or a bad game, I can always call him or go to his office and watch film and ... he can point out key points and keep it honest with me."

Through that film work, Luke helped Jones incorporate more bend into his defensive stance, so that he could move more quickly. He also improved Macura's dribbling and ability to space the floor.

"Trying to develop those guys," Luke said, "that's where I take the most pride and joy."


Though Xavier has only 10 scholarship players, it returns four starters -- Bluiett, Macura, Jones and Quentin Goodin -- from last season's Elite Eight squad.

"It gives us a chance to have one of the best teams we've had here at Xavier," Mack said.

A two-time, first-team All-Big East selection, Bluiett averaged a team-high 18.5 points last season and 5.7 rebounds. Fellow senior, Macura, averaged 14.4 points, and Goodin stepped up as a freshman last season, helping replace Edmond Sumner who had a season-ending knee injury.

To that mix, Xavier has added freshman guard Paul Scruggs, one of the highest rated recruits in program history, and Kerem Kanter, the 6-10, 240-pound brother of New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter. A graduate transfer student, Kerem averaged 11.3 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds at Wisconsin-Green Bay last season.

Bill Murray, Luke Murray

"We have a chance to have a really, really successful season," Luke said, "and make another deep run in the NCAA tournament."

The 2017-18 squad likely will be the best team Luke has ever coached. Xavier has already defeated Wisconsin on the road and No. 16 Baylor at home, and last week the Musketeers won against rival and previously undefeated Cincinnati 89-76.

Bill never really encouraged or discouraged him from pursuing that career in coaching.

"I don't think that he necessarily pushed anything," Luke said. "That's not really his way."

Though a far cry from his father, Luke is known for his dry, quick-witted humor, sometimes noting it would be great if his players actually "shot it in the hoop."

"He's hilarious," Macura said. "He's serious when he steps on the court, but outside the court, he's a little bit sarcastic."

Pegues countered: "I'm pretty sure Bill Murray's sense of humor is a little bit better."

And Bill certainly is more suited to the Hollywood life. Luke emphatically stated that he never considered following the funnyman's footsteps by trying for a career in entertainment.

"I have five brothers," he said. "I don't think any of us have ever thought to go down that road."

But Luke's path in basketball has made for some nice father-son connections. When Luke was a child, Bill used to take him to Knicks games at Madison Square Garden. Now Bill can watch his son coach there when Xavier visits St. John's or plays in the Big East tournament.

"It's probably a cool experience for him," Luke said. "He's really proud."

-- Follow Jeff Fedotin on Twitter @JFedotin.