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Murray State mourns women's assistant coach

From MSU Athletics

The Murray State Athletics community is mourning former women's basketball assistant coach Tony Cross, who died Wednesday in Murray. Cross was 64.

"I'm saddened by the news of Tony's passing," said MSU Director of Athletics Allen Ward. "Not only was he an outstanding coach, but he was an extraordinary friend and colleague. He was a mentor to everyone around him and touched the lives of so many.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to work with Tony and for his service to our program. I extend to Lois and the family my sincerest thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Former Murray State women's basketball coach Rob Cross had Tony as his assistant from 2010 until this past season, when health issues forced him away from the game.

"We are never prepared for the death of a dear friend or family member," Cross said. "Tony came to Murray State to work with me seven years ago after helping mentor me and becoming a great friend throughout the early development of my coaching career.

"His life was not about the wins and losses or championships he won. His life was more important than those things -- his life was about serving others. He and his wife Lois made tremendous personal sacrifices to serve our student-athletes and staff members. His friendship and advice have meant more to me than anyone can imagine.

"As we moved into this past season without him on the bench beside us we left the seat next to me open for him. That open seat was there not only to serve as a tribute and reminder that 'TC' was with us, but also to remind each of us to cherish every second we have together. With the passing of Tony, I am reminded that death leaves a heartache that no one person can heal but love leaves a memory that no one can steal."

Tony Cross joined the Racers as an assistant coach in July 2010 after 26 years at the helm of the Belmont University women's basketball program. With the Racers, Cross was instrumental in player development, academics and recruiting.

While with the Bruins, Cross guided the team into a perennial power as a member of the NAIA and transitioned the team to a winning tradition at the Division I level in the NCAA. He ended his tenure at Belmont with a 544-255 (.681) career record and ranked 20th on the NCAA's winningest active coaches (by win total) at the start of the 2009-10 campaign. In his 26 seasons with Belmont, the team recorded 23 consecutive seasons with at least a .500 record.

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