Melissa (Murray) Thompson PhD

Associate Professor

Sport Coaching Education


PhD Educational Psychology, Florida State University (2008)

M.S. Kinesiology, Emphasis in Sport Psychology, Georgia Southern University (2004)

B.A. Psychology and Elementary Education, Rockford College (2002)

Research Focus

Coaching education with specific emphasis on coaching ethics and the coaching internship.


  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Certified Consultant (May 2009)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (December 2004)


  • Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Health (2013)
  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology Dissertation Award, Salt Lake City, Utah (September 2009)

Professional Memberships

  • Association for Applied Sport Psychology (2002-Present)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (2004-Present)
  • American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (2007-Present)
  • American Psychological Association (2010-Present)
  • United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry (2010-Present)


Refereed Publications

Murray, M.A., Bodey, K., Schoenstedt, L., & Dieffenbach, K. (in press). Parental responses to professional behaviors in coaching and teaching. Sport Science Review.

Murray, M., Zakrajsek, R., & Gearity, B.T. (in press). Effective internships in strength and conditioning: A community of practice approach. Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Gearity, B.T., Hudson, G., & Murray, M. (in press). Using project-based learning to promote college student understanding of the dynamic principles of strength and conditioning. Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Murray, M.A., (2011). Delivering coaching education online: Practical tips for online educators. Journal of Coaching Education, 4(2), 62-71.

Dieffenbach, K., Murray, M.A., & Zakrajsek, R. (2011). The coaching education internship experience: An exploratory study. International Journal of Coaching Science, 5, 3-25.

Gearity, B. T. & Murray, M. (2011). Athletes’ experiences of the psychological effects of poor coaching. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12, 213-221.

McGladrey, B. W., Murray, M. A., & Hannon, J. C. (2010). Developing and practicing an athlete-centered coaching philosophy. YouthFirst: Journal of Youth Sports, 5, 4-8.

Murray, M.A. & Tenenbaum, G. (2010). Computerized pedagogical agents as an educational means for developing physical self-efficacy in youth. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 42(3), 267-283.

Murray, M., Joyner, B., Burke, K., Wilson, M., & Zwald, D. (2005). The relationship between prayer and team cohesion in collegiate softball teams. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 24, 233-239.

Publications Submitted for Review

Zakrajsek, R., Murray, M. & Dieffenbach, K. (2013). An exploration of the academic coaching education internship. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Murray, M.A., & Dieffenbach, K. (2012). Measuring professional ethics in coaching education: Development of the PISC-Q. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Murray, M. & Kuklick, C. (2012). The relationship between narcissism and coaching efficacy in coaching education students. Manuscript in preparation.

Published Abstracts

Murray, M. A., Zakrajsek, R., & Dieffenbach, K. (2010). Preparing the next generation: Practical tips for mentoring student coaches during internship [Abstract]. Journal of Coaching Education, 3(2).

Book Chapters

Murray, M.A., & Dieffenbach, K. (2011). Athletic coaching education. In T. Reeve, L. Dornier, W.X. Yang, & G. Liang (Eds.), Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Recreation (In Press). Beijing: Higher Education Press.