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New Delta Secondary scholarship in honour of hall of fame coach

Former teacher and coach Neil Murray has been involved in Delta Pacers basketball for five decades

The longest-running high school basketball alumni tournament in the province tipped-off again last weekend following a two-year pandemic pause and marked the occasion by honouring a Delta Sports Hall of Fame coach who has done so much for the sport in the community.

The highlight of the 34th annual Delta Pacers Alumni Basketball Tournament was the announcement of the newly-created Neil Murray Scholarship that will see $500 awarded annually to a graduating male and female player at Delta Secondary, starting in June.

Murray is a longtime former Delta School District teacher who poured decades of his life into coaching high school basketball.

His lengthy tenure included guiding the Pacers senior boys’ team to the No. 1 ranking in the province back in 1979. His teams also advanced to the provincial single-A finals in 1980 and 1981.

He was later inducted into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and the annual rivalry game between DSS and South Delta Secondary is named after him and Bob Stebbings, another Delta School District teacher/coach and hall of fame inductee.

In the years since his retirement, Murray has been actively involved in the alumni tournament, namely the Anesto Charles Foundation that was formed to honour his former standout player who tragically passed away from congenital heart failure playing a senior men’s game back in 1996.

The foundation not only provides annual scholarships to DSS grads, but also for Grade 7 students from each Ladner elementary school to attend sports camps. In total, $6,000 is awarded each year.

It was 1982 DSS alumni Cameron White and Mark Jiles who made a sizable donation to launch the Murray scholarship initiative. The application process will be over seen by the Charles Foundation.

“Neil was the genesis of ‘Pacer’ basketball. He had a significant influence over many students who he coached over the years. He is the main reason why, even after 40 years, I still feel connected to ‘Pacer’ basketball,” said White who played under Murray for three years.

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