By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western men's and women's golf coach Greg Dillon is calling it a career after nine years with the Griffons.
Dillon, 66, announced his retirement at a Tuesday press conference at Spratt Stadium.
Dillon's career at Missouri Western began in 2013, and it didn't take long for his teams to gain traction.
In 2014-15, he led individuals from both the men's and women's teams to a regional berths for the first time in program history. One year later, Griffon women's golf began an unprecedented run with four-straight NCAA Regional appearances as a team, including an NCAA Championship berth in 2016, where they took 12th place.
Dillon says he's most proud of his student-athletes' achievements during his tenure.
"I can't say enough about the student-athletes," Dillon said. "How proud I am of their accomplishments more than anything else. Not only on the golf course, but in the classroom also."
In nine years, Dillon's teams collected 41 All-MIAA Academic Awards, including five MIAA Scholar-Athlete Awards. On top of that, Dillon saw his golfers snag 19 All-MIAA selections, including 11 first-team honorees.
In his nine seasons, a combined 12 Missouri Western golf teams and individuals reached NCAA tournaments.
"It's going to be a tough void to fill," said Missouri Western athletic director Andrew Carter, "in finding somebody who cares as much as he does about these programs. But, he also has that relationship-building quality within the community."
In nearly a decade, Dillon and his teams have amassed over $500,000 in fundraising for the program and they've also played a key role in running concessions for Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joseph each summer.
Dillon says there was no exactly right time to make this decision, but he cited his age as a factor.
"I'm hitting that point," he said, "and I think that's a good point to where it's time we look at making a transition more than anything else."
As Dillon gets ready to go back to his hometown of Pueblo, Colorado in July, his final achievement as head coach is the unveiling of a new indoor golf simulator inside the Looney Sports Complex, which will be operational this fall.
The simulator, a state-of-the-art Bushnell Launch Pro, will be set up on one of the racquet ball courses, where student-athletes will be able to play simulated courses.
"Now, with the simulator, we can really get to work," Dillon said. "The kids and the recruits, this is a facility that all of them use right now. It's pretty basic if you go anywhere."
Dillon plans to work as the head pro at the Elmwood Golf Course in Pueblo once he gets back. Carter will oversee the hiring of Dillon's replacement, which will be the first head coaching hire Carter will make since being announced as the new Griffon A.D. on May 2.
"In all of our head coaches, we look for people of character and integrity," Carter said. "People we can trust. People whose parents will trust their young people with our coaches. Right after that, it's that passion (we look for) that you see in Greg."
Dillon, who spent four years as the head man at Colorado State-Pueblo prior to coming to Western, says he'll remember these last years fondly.
"Where to start," he said. "My time here has just been...I just can't say enough good things about Missouri Western and St. Joe and the Griffon family."
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