Paul Murray confirmed Thursday he has decided to retire as the head baseball coach at Donovan Catholic prior to this season.

Murray spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the Griffins, during which he amassed a career record of 136-156. He said he planned on meeting with his players on Sunday, but most of the Donovan Catholic community was aware of his decision.

"I took this job thinking it was going to be a one-year thing because the team needed a coach," Murray said. "I enjoyed doing it over the years, but it knew it was time. I have a place in the Florida Keys that I live in over the winter and it was getting harder and harder to come back up north in early March."

Murray said Donovan Catholic athletic director Joe Gomulka has asked him to assist in the search for a new head coach, which Murray said will not include assistants Russ Petranto or Kevin Gambrino, both of whom have decided not to return.

Murray took over the program in 2004 and in his final season, Donovan Catholic went 14-13 behind senior captains Matt Drake, Russ Petranto, Steve Lazicki and Charlie Dimino. The Griffins will return a collection of pitchers in junior Zach Mann, junior Kyle Malloy, senior Nick Povoa, and junior Bart Goble, all of whom contributed to Donovan Catholic's young rotation in 2015.

"I loved this senior class," Murray said. "Those four guys, the four captains, they were incredible for us this year. They are great kids and it was a privilege to coach them.

"The pitching staff should be good next year. They are all really hard-working kids who I will miss."

After graduating from Donovan Catholic - then St. Joseph High School of Toms River - in 1971, Murray played one season of baseball at Wagner College.

Murray is the third head coach from a Shore Conference B South program to step down following the 2015 season. Longtime Manchester coach John Musolf retired as a coach and history teacher at the end of the school year and John Scran stepped down as coach at Central Regional in order to take the athletic director position at the school. Central approved Mike Casale as the new head coach on Wednesday.

"The changes in B South had a little to do with (the decision)," Murray said. "I'm friends with Musolf and John Scran, so seeing those guys go made the decision a little easier."


The original version of this post listed sophomore Mike Dimino as one of the potential returning players for Donovan Catholic. Dimino has transferred to Jackson Memorial and the updated version of the post has been altered to reflect that.