The Missouri Western administration introduced the new head football coach for the Griffons Tuesday morning in the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex. Matt Williamson became the sixth head coach in the history of the program.
Athletics Director Kurt McGuffin only interviewed one assistant coach in his search to replace Jerry Partridge. That one assistant was the man he hired to take over as the head football coach.
McGuffin spent five hours with Williamson at 54th Street in Kansas City, and that is where McGuffin said he knew he had found his guy.
“He was not afraid to open up about his experiences with Missouri Western,” McGuffin said. “And right there I think I was sold, not just because I knew he could coach football, but I knew about his passion for the black and gold.”
Williamson most recently spent three seasons at Stephen F. Austin as the defensive coordinator. When Williamson took over as defensive coordinator, the Lumberjacks were allowing almost 50 points per game in the Southland Conference. SFA finished the 2016 season allowing just 28 points per game and 120 fewer yards per game than they did in 2013.
The Lumberjacks finished dead last in total defense, but Williamson is confident in his coaching abilities and that fans should also have confidence in their new coach.
“I took over the program, and it was the worst defense in the FCS, giving up like 52 points per game,” Williamson said. “With that said, I have had a lot of success, and I wouldn’t have any worries about that all.”
Williamson was also the defensive coordinator at Central Arkansas. In his three seasons at Central Arkansas, the defense led the conference in scoring defense and was no. 1 in total defense in 2009.
Before he started his venture in the Southland Conference, Williamson spent seven seasons coaching here at Missouri Western.
“One of the toughest decisions I ever had to make was when I had to tell the players and coaches here that I was leaving,” Williamson said.
As defensive coordinator in 2005, the Griffons’ defense allowed just 19.5 points per game. He will take over a defense that allowed 29.5 points per game this past season.
Before coaching, Williamson was a three-time All-MIAA noseguard here at Missouri Western State University and a second team All-American in 1996.
The first line of business for the new head coach will be choosing his coaching staff.
“I have to get a staff, and I have a bunch of the names, but I have to sit with Kurt and talk about a few things,” Williamson said. “There a bunch of good coaches here.”
The new head coach also said that the biggest task for him in the coming days will be recruiting — once his staff is filled.
Williamson will bring a new energy to the football program and believes that his energy and passion are his strongest attributes.
“One of my great tools is leadership and motivation, and working with three different successful head coaches and taking a little bit from them and then using my passion and ideas are going to be tremendous,” Williamson said.
Williamson will have plenty of talent and leadership coming back for the 2017 season. Offensively, they will return all-conference running back Josh Caldwell and, hopefully, a healthy Skylar Windmiller. The new head coach does plan on making a few changes offensively.
“We’re going to be tempo-oriented on offense,” Williamson said. “Sometimes we’ll go fast and sometimes we’ll go slow.”
The opportunity to come home to Missouri Western was a dream come true for the St. Louis native. He spoke in the press conference about keeping track of his alma mater weekly and that in his heart he never really left here.
“This was the easiest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Williamson said. “It was a slam dunk.”