Nov 15, 2022

MWSU AD Andy Carter on Williamson decision: 'evident that change was necessary'

Posted Nov 15, 2022 12:35 PM
Former Missouri Western head football coach Matt Williamson, seen here in February 2022, was relieved of his duties Sunday after six years by Missouri Western athletic director Andy Carter. Stock photo by Tommy Rezac.
Former Missouri Western head football coach Matt Williamson, seen here in February 2022, was relieved of his duties Sunday after six years by Missouri Western athletic director Andy Carter. Stock photo by Tommy Rezac.


St. Joseph Post

Missouri Western Athletic Director Andy Carter talked publicly Monday for the first time since making the decision to fire Matt Williamson as the Griffons’ head football coach on Sunday.

"These things are always very, very difficult on everybody," Carter said Monday on JoeTown 107.5 FM and 1550 AM. "Especially when you have a lot of respect for somebody like I have for Matt. This has been a process of evaluation for basically the entire season."

Speaking at the Missouri Western coaches’ luncheon at Hi-Ho Bar and Grill Monday, Carter says it’s his hope to have a new coach in place before the year is out.

"And then have the staff in place before our students come back (from winter break) which is the 16th of January," he said. "So, we're going to move quickly."

As for Williamson, Carter emphasizes the decision to fire him was difficult, and was the result of a season-long evaluation on the direction of the program - a program that finished 2022 with a losing record for the first time since 2017.

"At the end of the day, it was just evident that if we're going to do the things we feel like we want to do with this program, that a change was necessary," Carter explained. "I spoke with Matt (Sunday) and then with the staff and with the team and let them know of my decision and what's next."

Williamson concluded his tenure with a 31-26 record. During Williamson's time, the Griffons had three winning seasons, but never made the playoffs, were 0-5 against top rival Northwest Missouri State and 2-11 against ranked opponents.

Carter said Monday that there will be at least one assistant on the current staff retained to assist with recruiting and day-to-day activities, but he did not specify who that is yet.

"There is some time for us to get to where we need to go with that," Carter said. "We've got some projects we're working on inside the football space that are exciting. But right now, it's time for us to galvanize our focus and our efforts to get the next leader of our football program."

As for the next head coach, Carter says there are several key characteristics he looks for.

"You're looking for people who can actually win games and win the recruiting battles and do those things," he said, "but also have a tremendous ability to connect with young people and lead them and lead their staffs and develop their staffs."

Missouri Western competes in the MIAA - arguably the toughest and most prestigious league in Division II. It's less than an hour from Kansas City, and has been the host site of Kansas City Chiefs training camp since 2010.

Pair that with top notch facilities and a rich athletic tradition, Carter is already seeing strong interest in the head football coach position, and believes there is untapped potential within the department yet to be realized.

"The response has been incredible," Carter said on the interest level in the job. "We're not responding to anybody yet really, but just seeing the folks who are reaching out and the high level of people with lots of experience who are interested in Missouri Western. It's humbling to see that. We're excited."

Other news and notes

Carter has already made one coaching hire. He named Matt Thrasher as the head men's and women's golf coach after Greg Dillon's retirement earlier this year.

Besides football, another head coaching job has yet to be filled for women's soccer. Damian Macias stepped down from the role this past July, and interim coach Leah Stringer led the Griffons to a 5-10-4 record this past fall.

Carter say Stringer is still the interim coach right now, but notes the search for that job is ramping up also.

"I have full confidence that we'll hire an outstanding coach who will be able to lead our ladies into the future and really excited for what's in store for that program."

Carter also spoke on the Missouri Western men's basketball exhibition at Kentucky on October 30. Carter's flight to Lexington was grounded, so he watched from home in St. Joseph, but was no doubt proud of how the Griffons battled. He also credited coach Will Martin for making it happen.

"I didn't really do anything," Carter said. "Will did the work on that. I just signed the contract so that we could go, and I think it was a no-brainer that we would do that."

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.