ACCS’ Murray devotes free time to serving church, God

Published 2:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — Many local athletes stretch their time between several different sports, and don’t have a lot of free time because of it.

With what little time they do have, not many would devote that time to something else that requires as much dedication as sports.

For ACCS senior Bryce Murray, however, the time he spends away from the field or court is heavily devoted to his Christian faith and service to First Baptist Church, where he attends. Murray, who plays football, basketball and baseball for the Rebels, said he’d rather be active in church and sports than just coming home after school.

“I’d probably go crazy if I stayed cooped up in the house all day,” Murray said. “I don’t like laying around.”

In addition to attending services on Sundays and Wednesdays, Murray also participates in Bible drill at his church, where he memorizes Bible verses to repeat when prompted.

Murray said being that involved in church stems from his belief in God having a great purpose for his life.

“God puts you on the earth for something greater than just being here,” Murray said. “He wants you to do something greater in His name.”

First Baptist youth pastor Dan Ratcliff said his involvement in church goes beyond simply attending activities, however.

“He’s become a natural leader, and that’s not something you have to force out of him,” Ratcliff said. “He’s helped mentor younger people in the group, and that’s not even something I needed to ask him to do.”

And Murray said he didn’t mentor people for any reason other than it needing to be done.

“I just saw the need and that someone needed to fill it,” Murray said. “I just kind of stepped in. It means a lot, knowing (younger people) are looking up to me, and that I’m leaving an influence on them that will carry on.”

Younger children aren’t the only people Murray’s left an impression on. ACCS baseball coach Hunter McKeivier said it’s been a pleasure for him to be able to coach Murray in the years he was at ACCS.

“He’s the type of kid, if you want to build a team, you can build it around Bryce Murray,” McKeivier said. “I think the world of him, and don’t know many people who don’t.

“He’s graduating, and he’s going to be dearly missed throughout the whole school and community. To anyone who didn’t get to meet him I’d say, if you get a chance, don’t be shy. He’s a great kid.”

In addition, he’s also a hard worker, according to Rebels football coach Paul Hayles.

“He’s one of those guys that, if you give him a workout sheet, you don’t have to stand over him,” Hayles said. “You know he’s going to get it done.”

And it’s not just his coaches that have noticed.

“He has a work ethic that he gets from his dad,” Ratcliff said. “He’s been the president of his class for several years, and he keeps getting nominated because people know he’s going to do the work.

“A lot of kids have an apathy for sports, but not Bryce. The dives he makes out in center field, those aren’t for himself. He’s not trying to get on Sports Center.”

Murray said he’s played football and basketball since the third grade, and baseball since he was either 6 or 7.

“I’ve come to love the games,” Murray said. “I guess they’re all just fun. My dad played sports in high school, and he kind of showed me how to play. Since I wanted to keep playing, I stayed with it.”

Murray will graduate in May with a 3.7 GPA. He plans to attend Mississippi College. Even though he’s played sports all his life, he said he doesn’t see that continuing in college.

“Sports have been a big part of my life ever since I was little, but I probably won’t play in college,” Murray said. “I’m definitely going to miss it.”