- Sep 9, 2015
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Get to know Gophers graduate transfer Kylie Murr .
First up: Kylie Murr
Murr was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 at Ohio State
Kylie Murr is a graduate transfer libero from Ohio State University. She will play her final year of eligibility this season as a Gopher. The 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year was an AVCA All-America honorable mention last season. She left OSU as its all-time leader in digs.
GS: Can you remember your first time when you got into volleyball?
KM: My mom coached at Yorktown High School (Indiana) and when I was little the bus would drop me off at the school and I would watch volleyball practice everyday. I would shag all the balls and help where I could. My mom (Rhonda Wilson) played volleyball at Ball State and my sister (Kendall) played at Jacksonville and Mississippi State, so it's been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I was a gym rat since I was a little girl.
GS: What is your favorite volleyball memory growing up?
KM: My sister is two years older than me and my mom was our high school coach. When I was a sophomore and she was a senior, we won the state championship. To share those experiences together was just so awesome. It wasn't something many people got to do in terms of playing for your mom and with your sister.
GS: When did you know that volleyball was going to be something you pursued after high school?
KM: When I was young you could just kind of see the skill level comparison. I knew if I stayed committed to this and kept working at it, I could be pretty good. I was one of those kids who played every sport you could think of growing up, but volleyball was always my favorite. It always just kept sticking out to me as the one I had a passion for. It was always my biggest passion and still is.
GS: What other sports did you play growing up?
KM: I really was serious about softball when I was in middle school, but I had to quit because of the commitments that volleyball required, especially for playing club. If I wanted to not just be good, but be great, I had to lock in on volleyball. When I was younger I also played basketball, gymnastics, ran track, played soccer and tried swimming. My parents couldn't keep me still.Kylie Murr and Melani Shaffmaster playing for Munciana Volleyball ClubGS: You played club volleyball with Munciana and were teammates with [current Gophers setter] Melani Shaffmaster. Talk about your relationship with her.
KM: She started Munciana when she was 11 and I started when I was 12. We were on the same team from when we were 12 through 15 teams. Then we played together on the 18's team when we were 17 and 18. I think we were pretty much instant friends - we're both pretty similar, both opinionated and love to challenge each other. I was always the smallest one and she was the always the biggest one in the gym so it was funny. We just did everything together and had that same level of competitiveness.
GS: Obviously you two played against each other at Ohio State and Minnesota these past three years, but also in high school. How has that rivalry been?
KM: Whenever I played against Mel, I wanted to beat her. She had a really good high school team too, her sister was on the team. I'd say we won more of the head-to-head matchups, but they got us a couple times too. Where we're from, people live and breathe volleyball, so the games were always so fun and so competitive.
GS: What was your initial recruitment like out of high school?
KM: I remember going into it that I wanted to play in the Big Ten. Being a libero, that kind of limited my options since teams really only need one. A couple teams came around, and one of them was Ohio State. They believed in me and offered me a full scholarship, and that meant a lot to me as they wanted me to be their libero. I knew it was a competitive school and one that wasn't too far from home, so it was just a good fit for me.
GS: When you first got to OSU, the team was going through some struggles and wasn't thought of as a top program in the Big Ten. What was it like trying to get the program up towards the top of the Big Ten?
KM: It was really tough - we didn't have a successful year and our head coach got fired. When I was a sophomore, we had a new coach and a new culture that had to be built, so it took a ton of work. I kind of took a leadership role from that year on and knew it had to take everything we had to get OSU to be competitive with the elite teams of the conference. Of course we lost some games, but to see how far we came by the end of it and to make the Elite Eight last year was so rewarding.
GS: When you think about your career, being the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, OSU's all-time digs leader, All-America honors, were those goals that you set for yourself going into college?
KM: I had six goals I wrote down in my phone notes before I came in and I accomplished most of them. I wanted to change OSU, play in every single game, make everyone around me better, make All-American, be the Big Ten Freshman of the Week more than once, and finally win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
GS: What was it like when you entered the transfer portal?
KM: I entered after the season ended and immediately my email was blowing up. I kind of limited myself though because I knew I wanted to play in the Big Ten, and some schools just don't need a libero. I didn't want to play in any other conference and take a step down. I thought about Penn State because my roommate was going there too, but in the end Minnesota just made sense for so many reasons. I feel like I can add a lot here and they needed me as much as I needed them. I'm just so excited to be a Golden Gopher.Murr on her official visit to Minnesota in JanuaryGS: What did you do on your official visit to Minnesota?
KM: It was kind of funny because the coaches were all brand knew and we were all kind of going through the visit together. But they were amazing the whole time and I just felt like they cared about me as a person just as much as they cared about me as a player. I want to play professional volleyball and I felt like coming here would help set me up for those goals as well. But on the visit I hung out with all the girls and coaches, went out to dinner and they took me to a Gophers hockey game. I knew that I was going to come here and the visit just solidified that.Shaffmaster and Murr have been friends since they were 12 years oldGS: You get to play your last year at Minnesota and also with one of your best friends in Melani [Shaffmaster]. Did you ever think that would be possible?
KM: I never thought this opportunity would come about. We went our separate ways after high school and it was awesome playing against each other for the last three years. But now that it came about, it's just so special. Not a lot of people get to share these experiences with one of your best friends.
GS: How has your introduction to Minnesota been so far?
KM: It's been amazing, I mean all the girls and coaches have been so great to me. They're already letting me have a voice and help lead in captain's practices and I can feel they're starting to trust me. I'm the oldest person on the team so it's great that we're all willing to talk and learn from one another.
GS: What are the goals you have for the team this year?
KM: We want to win the Big Ten. After that, I think we can win a national championship. I know everyone says that, but we can make a run to the Final Four, and once you get there, anything is possible.
GS: What about individually?
KM: I only have six months left of college volleyball, so I really just want to give this team all that I can and just be the best teammate I can to help the team achieve its goals.
GS: What games do you have circled on the calendar in 2023?
KM: November 3 at Ohio State. It's going to be so special and I know I might be emotional. But walking into that gym and seeing my former coaches and teammates is going to make my feel all types of things. I'm also excited to go to Purdue (home state) and then Nebraska.
GS: How about off the court, what do you like to do when you're not playing volleyball?
KM: I love watching TV. I have a list of like 1,000 shows that I've watched. But I also love spending time with friends and with the people I love.
GS: What message do you want to leave with Gopher fans heading into the season?
KM: I know I'm here for a short amount of time but I'm totally bought into this program. I'm a Gopher. I'm here to win and make everyone around me better.
Favorite Food: Pizza
Fun Fact: I used to play the trumpet but I stopped because they made me miss recess to practice
Hidden Talent: I know a little bit of American sign language
Favorite Sport to Watch: Gymnastics
Favorite Pro Sports Team: Cincinnati Bengals and Reds
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere where I'm on the lake (cabin weekend)
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad and Peaky Blinders
Biggest Inspiration: My parents