Murray Hartzler is entering his 20th year as director of athletics at Francis Marion University. In the fall of 2006, he retired from his role as head men's soccer coach, after guiding the Patriots for 13 seasons (and his 23rd season as a head coach at the collegiate level), to concentrate fully on his role as FMU director of athletics.
Under his guidance, FMU student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom with an overall grade point average of around 3.0. That figure continues to exceed the overall student body GPA, and our student-athletes’ graduation rate was 26 percent higher than the student body’s graduation rate.
With the men's basketball team participating in the 2019 Southeast Regional Tournament, the Patriots continued their string of having student-athletes compete in NCAA post-season competition every year since joining the NCAA in 1992.
Under his guidance, the FMU program has undertaken facility improvements in the Smith University Center, at the Griffin Athletic Complex, and on Kassab Tennis Courts. New renovations to the Smith University Center and an addition to the GAC Fieldhouse will begin during the 2019-20 school year.
In 2016-17, five FMU squads posted winning records, three appeared in national polls, and 16 Patriot student-athletes earned the equivalent of academic All-America honors, while three Francis Marion programs earned national team All-Academic honors.
In 2015-16, three FMU teams appeared in national polls, and four squads competed in NCAA post-season competition. In 2012-13, four FMU teams appeared in national polls and four squads competed in NCAA post-season competition.
In 2011-12, five FMU squads (baseball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's cross country) participated in NCAA post-season competition. Six of the 10 programs that compile won-loss records posted winning marks and three squads appeared in national polls.
In 2010-11, again five FMU teams participated in NCAA post-season competition, six posted winning marks, and four appeared in national polls. In 2009-10, seven FMU squads participated in NCAA post-season competetion, seven posted winning marks, and five appeared in national polls.
The 2008-09 year was one of the most successful in school history - with nine FMU teams posting winning records, six teams appearing in national polls, eight squads (baseball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's cross country, women's basketball, men's soccer, and women's volleyball) participating in NCAA post-season competition, and 88 student-athletes were named to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential (academic) Honor Roll.
During the 2005-06 year, Hartzler served as the national chairman of the eight-person NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Committee, which governs the Division II men's soccer championships.
After joining the FMU staff in the spring of 1994, Hartzler compiled a 133-106-13 record as the men's soccer coach, and is the winningest coach in the program's 37-year history. During the 2005 season, he captured his 200th career coaching win. Of his 13 Patriot squads, six registered double figure win totals. In each of his first seven seasons at Francis Marion, Hartzler increased or equaled his season win total (3 in 1994, 7 in 1995, 10 in 1996, 13 in 1997, 15 in 1998, and 17 in 1999 and 2000).
His 1999 FMU squad captured the program's first-ever conference crown, winning the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. That squad narrowly missed earning its first NCAA Division II national tournament invitation. The following year, the Patriots enjoyed their finest season ever with a 17-3-1 record, the school's first regular-season PBC championship, and an appearance in the NCAA Division II national tournament quarterfinals (Elite Eight). FMU also spent two weeks at No. 1 on the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 poll late during the 2000 campaign, and the Patriots hosted both the PBC Tournament and a pair of NCAA national tournament matches.
In 2002, he directed the Patriots to a surprising 15-5-0 record and the PBC regular-season title. Picked to finish fifth in the coaches' preseason poll after finishing last in 2001, Francis Marion won its final 12 regular-season matches, before falling in the PBC Tournament semifinals and narrowly missing an invitation to the NCAA Division II national tournament. Hartzler was honored as the PBC "Coach of the Year" for the second time in three seasons. He also received the award in 2000.
Hartzler was the men's soccer coach at Hiram College (Ohio) for 10 years before coming to Florence. At the Division III school, he recorded an 85-62-21 mark, while guiding Hiram to four consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference titles (1989-92). His squads ranked regionally in the Great Lakes Region each of his last five seasons, and he earned conference "Coach of the Year" honors four times. He coached 37 All-Conference players during his 10 seasons at Hiram.
Altogether, he retired with a 219-167-34 men's coaching record that covers the 23 seasons. He ended the 2006 campaign ranking 18th in total victories among all active NCAA Division II men's soccer coaches.
A native of Clarence, N.Y., Hartzler earned a B.A. degree in communications from Goshen College (Ind.) in 1980, and received a M.A. degree in physical education, recreation, and dance from Kent State University in 1991. He also attended Hesston (Junior) College in Hesston, Kan. He played two years of soccer at both Hesston and Goshen and never lost more than three matches in any of those four years. He was captain of the Goshen team his senior year.
Hartzler is a United States Soccer Federation licensed coach and has an advanced national diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Hartzler also began the Patriot women's soccer program in 1995, and coached the team for eight years, posting a 109-35-4 record and twice earning invitations to the NCAA Division II national tournament. He relinquished those head coaching duties in 2003.
In 2012, Hartzler was honored by Francis Marion University by having the soccer field at the new Griffin Athletic Complex named after him. The same year, he was inducted into Hiram College's William H. Hollinger Athletics Hall of Fame.
As athletic director, Hartzler oversees a Francis Marion athletic program that offers 14 sports (seven for both men and women), 13 of which compete at the NCAA Division II level and one at the Division I level. Hartzler also directed the award-winning National Youth Sports Program, hosted by FMU during the summers of 1997, 1998, and 1999.
He was inducted into FMU's chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa national honor society in the spring of 2018.