Murray Brothers Always in Season

Published in the February 18, 2009 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster


Growing up as an athlete, it's nice to know there will be at least one other kid on your team who can play at your level. That's an assurance Matt and Paul Murray of Stow have known their entire lives, since the twin brothers have also been teammates for as long as they can remember.

Well, there might have been one season of Little League when they played on different teams, but the Murrays are a little fuzzy on those details. With high school graduation looming this spring, Little League seems like a long time ago. These days, the twins are a package deal.

“We're better together than apart,” Matt Murray said.

The Nashoba Regional seniors have played together through four seasons of high school football and basketball, with a fourth season of baseball on deck. Just don't ask them to pick a favorite.

“Our favorite sport is whatever season it is now,” Matt Murray said. “You have to play each sport like it's your favorite, if you want to succeed.”

That means the sport of choice in the Murray household will be basketball at least until the end of this week. With Matt and Paul as co-captains, the Chieftains had a 4-12 record following a 65-50 loss to Milford last Wednesday, but still had a chance to make the playoffs with victories in their final two games. Paul returned from a two-game bout with the flu to score 21 points against Milford, but this time it was Matt who was missing in action with a tailbone infection. Both brothers expected to be in action for last night's game at Narragansett.

The team's win total so far equals that of last year, but both captains insist the current Chieftains team is better than its record, and that their tough non-league schedule will pay off in the postseason if they can get that far.

“I had thought we would do better than we have in terms of our record, but the program is definitely stronger,” said Paul Murray.

The twins share the same bedroom and the same friends, making them practically inseparable. But carbon copies of each other they're not. Matt is chatty; Paul is a man of fewer words. Paul is slightly taller and more agile; Matt is broader and stronger.

Early on, it was tempting for coaches to treat the twins as duplicates. At one point, a football coach had them both lining up at guard, earning them the nickname “Twin Towers.” But over time, each has established his own athletic identity. While Matt excelled on the offensive and defensive lines, Paul was catching passes and hauling in interceptions. While Paul has been slashing to the hoop, Matt has been boxing out for rebounds. And when Paul pitches, it's been Matt who puts up the target.

The all-Murray battery may be a thing of the past, however. With Stow juniors Jeff Pieper and Zack King in position to compete for time behind the plate, Matt Murray will likely be spending more time on the mound. But no, the twins don't mirror each other as pitchers either. Paul is more of a classic hard thrower, relying on fastball, change-up and curve; whereas Matt is more of a finesse pitcher, drawing on his catching experience to anticipate a batter's tendencies, and mixing in an occasional splitter.

As nice as it will be to have another quality arm in the rotation, Paul Murray says he'll miss having someone who knows him so well calling the games.

“I'll probably call my own pitches now,” he said.

Breaking up the battery might be a good first step toward college, where the twins might finally play on separate teams, possibly even against each other. Neither has made any decisions yet, although as honor-roll students both should have a number of options, but will have to weigh the probability of playing at a smaller school against the possibility of walking on at a bigger program. Schools that both twins are considering include Northeastern, Bentley and the University of New Hampshire.

That's right, they've both applied to the same schools.

Looks like the Murray brothers just might be teammates for a few more years.


Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239