The University of Maine has snagged another athletic recruit from Canada whose primary position is wing.
This recruit, however, doesn’t play hockey — field or ice.
Murphy Burnatowski has verbally committed to play for Ted Woodward’s men’s basketball team.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Burnatowski will be making a homecoming of sorts when he arrives in Orono. Although he hails from Waterloo, Ontario, he has some strong Maine roots.
His mother, Lori Murphy, is a native of Millinocket. And although father Kevin Burnatowski is from Montreal, both he and his wife are alumni of Husson College in Bangor.
“When I went there [UMaine], I had a pretty good idea what I wanted and Maine fulfilled it,” said Burnatowski, who has two older sisters. “They have a good business program, I have relatives there, they have a young and improving team, and I have a chance to play right away.”
The 18-year-old forward, who has played rugby and football in high school, can play small forward, power forward, and guard. He has been a member of Canada’s National Elite Development Authority team the last two years.
“It’s basically a chance for the top players from around the country to train and hopefully be on the junior international team and then the senior team,” Burnatowski said. “This summer we played in Argentina and finished third out of eight teams behind Argentina and the U.S.”
Murphy is a versatile player who considers defense his strength.
“I like to guard the other teams’ best players,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me if a guy’s a better inside player or outside guy. I can play both ways.
The same thing goes for his offensive ability.
“I can play inside, I like to shoot from the perimeter, and I like to go quick and get out in the open court, too,” he said.
Burnatowski, who is interested in studying business management, said he likes Maine’s players and coaching staff.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play Division I ball,” said Burnatowski, who plans to sign during the National Letter of Intent late signing period in April. “I was also looking at Ottawa and Brock [University], but the guys on the team are all great.
“There’s a good vibe from those guys and the staff. I don’t feel like another number.”
Husson’s Tracy steps down
Sharon Tracy, who has served as the head field hockey coach at Husson University for the last six seasons, has stepped down from that position.
Tracy spent seven seasons on the Eagles’ bench, serving as an assistant coach in 2002 before becoming the head coach in 2003. She guided Husson to a 43-47 overall record, including the No. 1 seed in the North Atlantic Conference tournament in 2007 and reached the league semifinals last fall.
Husson athletic director Cindy Connelley said the search for Tracy’s successor will begin immediately.
Tracy arrived at Husson after working as an assistant field hockey and basketball coach at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H.
After attending Tufts University as a freshman, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine-Farmington, where she played field hockey and basketball from 1993-96. She was an all-academic pick in basketball.