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Former Shanley basketball coach Craig Murie passes away

Craig Murie, middle, former Fargo Shanley High School girls basketball coach, passed away Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the age of 66. Forum file photo

FARGO—Craig Murie, who coached Fargo Shanley to four girls state basketball championships in the 1980s, passed away Saturday at the age of 66.

According to the West Funeral Home of West Fargo web site, Murie passed away at Manor Care in Fargo. According to another web site, he passed away due to complications with liver disease and cancer.

Most recently, Murie was a fulltime math lecturer at North Dakota State University. He also helped at the scorers table at NDSU men's basketball games and assisted in keeping statistics in the press box at NDSU football games.

Here is a story The Forum ran on Murie on March 12 of 2010:

At 6-feet, 9-inches tall, Craig Murie towered over the girls basketball players he coached at Fargo Shanley and intimidated the officials he routinely badgered.

"I'm a lot calmer now," Murie said. "If I were coaching now, I probably wouldn't even yell at the refs."

Times have certainly changed for the 59-year-old Murie—who coached Shanley to four state championships in 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1989.

Today, Murie sits in a wheel chair. A cancerous tumor discovered two years ago forced doctors to amputate his left leg.

"That's my plant leg ... so I can't dunk anymore," said Murie, who has relied on his humor to get him through the ordeal. "Life has to go on. You either go positive or you go negative. I chose positive."

Murie is now a fulltime lecturer in the math department at North Dakota State University. It was on the NDSU campus on Jan. 11, 2008, when Murie slipped on ice and broke his leg.

That's when doctors discovered the tumor. During the next year, his leg became infected three times. Another tumor grew on the top of his leg and hip, prompting the amputation.

"I just don't do as many things now," said Murie, who runs the scoreboard clock at NDSU men's basketball games and occassionally watches Shanley girls basketball games.

Murie is a 1969 Edgeley (N.D.) High School graduate who never got to play in a state basketball tournament. He played two years at the University of North Dakota and two years at Valley City State before starting his coaching career.

During his 15 years of coaching the Shanley girls, he developed all-staters like Peggy Wehage, Mary Jean (Liffrig) Dehne who is the mother of current Fargo North guard Alyssa Dehne, Diane (Moenkedick) Mertens who is the mother of former Devils Lake standout B.J. Mertens and Sarah Hokenson who became Murie's only 'Miss Basketball.'

"Our goal back then was to press from the start of the game until we had the game in hand," Murie said. "We spent a lot more time on fundamentals back then. Plus, we had some good kids who were in pretty good shape."

And you can be assured that Murie is in good shape these days. Cancer free, he has learned to appreciate little things like being pushed down the church aisle during his son's wedding last summer or admiring a blind student who aced one of his calculus tests.

"It just makes you appreciate people," Murie said.

Kevin Schnepf
Kevin Schnepf is the sports editor for The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 1986.
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