Bay College Names Drake, Murtha as First Coaches

Dr. Laura Coleman, Jim Murtha, Rae Drake Jr., Matt Johnson
Dr. Laura Coleman, Jim Murtha, Rae Drake Jr., Matt Johnson

Bay College has hired Rae Drake, Jr. as its head women's basketball coach and Jim Murtha as its head cross country coach, announced Wednesday by Director of Athletics, Matt Johnson.  A press conference was held on Wednesday, to introduce Drake and Murtha as the 1st head coaches in program history.

"We believe Rae Drake and Jim Murtha are both great additions to Bay College and our athletic department," Johnson said. "Both Rae and Jim have a terrific track record as head coaches, strong experience at different levels, and are well respected by their peers.  They are both men of strong character, and we know they will put their hearts and souls into establishing successful programs at Bay College."

"It's a great day to be a Norse!"

Drake had spent the past four years (2012-2016) working with the women's basketball program at Northern Michigan University, including the past two (2014-2016) as an assistant coach.

Prior to his time at NMU, Drake spent six years with both the men's and women's basketball teams at Michigan Tech. He was the assistant coach in 2010-11, under Kim Cameron, when the Huskies were the NCAA Division II runner-up.

Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, Drake coached Upper Peninsula high school boy's basketball for 23 years—nine as head coach at West Iron County where he compiled a 121-72 record, seven conference championships (82-10 record) and two district titles.

He previously served 14 years as an assistant coach at Iron Mountain.

Drake attended Bay College in 1977-79 and graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1982 with a degree in special education.  In addition to coaching, Drake spent 25 years as a special education teacher. 

Drake has been married for over 36 years to his wife, Mollie.  The two have three adult daughters, Megan (32), Sarah (31), and Emily (27). 

"I am a graduate of Bay and I recognize what a great asset it is to the Upper Peninsula", said Drake.  "I am very excited and honored to be starting the first ever Women's Basketball program and working with Matt and the rest of the team at Bay College. I believe we will build a solid foundation that will last for years to come."

Murtha, a West Des Moines, Iowa native, has spent the past fifteen years (2001-2016) as the head girls track coach at Gladstone High School.  Murtha's teams have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, including his 2002 team, that won the Great Northern Conference, Regional, and Upper Peninsula titles.

Prior to entering the head coaching ranks, Murtha spent five seasons (1998-2002 & 2016-2017) as the assistant cross country coach and three seasons (1998-2001) as the assistant girls track coach at Gladstone High School. Murtha began his coaching career as a junior high track coach in 1996.

In addition to coaching, Murtha served in the United States Air Force (1987-1991) and has been a Physical Education teacher at Gladstone Area Schools for 18 years (1998-2016).

Murtha graduated from Bay College in 1993 and Northern Michigan University in 1995. Murtha has two daughters Rhyan (17) and Maddy (15).

"I would like to thank Dr. Coleman, Matt Johnson, and the entire Bay College community for this incredible opportunity", said Murtha.  "I am extremely excited and cannot wait to get started."

Bay College President Dr. Laura Coleman also expressed her excitement.

"We are very excited to take another step forward with our Athletic Department.  We could not be more excited about having these two fine gentlemen on board and returning to Bay College.  Both, Rae and Jim attended Bay as students, they return with great resumes, and have been very successful at each of their stops."

"More importantly, they are great people who are well respected across the Upper Peninsula. I am confident they will both build quality programs by doing things the right way.  I am very excited to welcome both Jim Murtha and Rae Drake, Jr. back to Bay College."