By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
St. Joseph native and former Missouri Western golfer Matt Thrasher will take over as the new head coach of the Griffon men's and women's golf program.
Another former Griffon golfer, mid-amateur and Missouri legend Brad Nurski, will be an assistant coach for both programs.
Thrasher takes over for Greg Dillon, who announced his retirement from the post back in late May after nine years on the job.
Dillon is headed back home to Pueblo, Colorado, where he'll work as the head pro at the Elmwood Golf Course. He'll also help take care of his aging mother who still lives there. While it's bittersweet to be leaving St. Joseph, Dillon has the utmost confidence in his successor.
"(Matt) has been a staple for me when I've had questions as to which way to go," Dillon said. "His advice has been sage. The biggest thing is the support (Matt has) in the community."
Missouri Western athletic director Andrew Carter introduced Thrasher to the public on Friday at Spratt Stadium. When it came to finding the right person to take over for Dillon, Carter says Thrasher's long-running reputation in the community made the decision easier.
"Matt is true-and-true St. Joseph and true-and-true Griffon," Carter said after making his first head coaching hire as the Griffon A.D. "I couldn't be more proud to say that Matt Thrasher is our next head golf coach."
A 1991 graduate of Benton High School, Thrasher played golf at Missouri Western from 1991-1995, winning three individual tournaments during that time. Since then, he's been around golf in many ways. He's been an advisor for Coach Dillon whenever it was needed.
"Some of the reason why we got to the postseason as much as we did was because of things Matt helped us with," Dillon said.
Thrasher has been running his American Family Insurance company, Matt Thrasher Agency Inc., in the St. Joseph area since 1999. He serves on multiple city boards and has been staple in the area for decades.
"I never thought or dreamed I'd be a golf coach," Thrasher said gratefully. "I'm very thankful for this opportunity. It's going to be a blast. It's going to be an honor to work with these young men and women and watch them get better."
In Dillon's nine years at the helm, he developed three NCAA National Championship individual qualifiers, 10 All-MIAA student-athletes with 19 selections between them and one individual conference champion.
Coach Dillon's student-athletes also earned 41 total MIAA Academic Honor Roll selections. Thrasher simply wants to carry on the legacy that Dillon has worked hard to solidify over the years.
"You've left us in the best shape and you left the program better than where you found it," Thrasher told Dillon. "I appreciate everything. Make sure your phone is always on, because I'm going to need some help, bud."
Missouri Western Athletics is also opening its new Griffon Golf Simulator located at the Looney Complex by the racquetball courts.
The simulator is the brainchild of Coach Dillon — a project he's been tinkering with for the last year or so.
With world-class facilities and a history of success, Thrasher is hopeful he can find the best players, both locally and internationally, to come carry on the level of success Dillon worked so hard to establish.
"We have the ability and opportunity with our facilities to really get some good kids in here both on the men's and women's side," Thrasher said. "Piggybacking off of what Greg has done recruiting wise with his connections overseas, but also hitting the Kansas City area hard and locals, too. We have some great local talent."
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