The cancellation of fall sports provides a unique opportunity to showcase many of the unsung heroes of Griffon Athletics.
While they may not be filling up Spratt Stadium every Saturday, Griffon football continues to hit the ground running in anticipation of a possible spring season. The coaches have been working tirelessly all offseason recruiting players, working on plays and getting the Griffons ready to play ball as soon as they get the green light.
The Griffons are led by former Missouri Western student Matt Williamson. Williamson, who graduated in 1996, took over for longtime head coach Jerry Partridge at the conclusion of the 2016 season, but it wasn’t his first time coaching at the university. Williamson got his coaching career started here as a graduate assistant for the 1997 season, eventually found his way to becoming the special teams and defensive line coordinator from 2000-2004, and became defensive coordinator the following two seasons after that. Then, after stints at both Central Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin University, Williamson came home to lead the Griffons as their head coach in December 2016.
When he was introduced as the sixth head coach in program history, he took over a team that had just finished a 4-7 season. After an identical record in his first season at the helm, the Griffons have made strides each of the past two seasons. From going 7-5 in 2018 to a stellar 2019 season that saw the Griffons go 9-3, both seasons saw the Griffons go out on top; as they won the Agent Barry Live United Bowl each of the past two seasons.
Williamson’s right-hand man on the defensive unit is Justin Richter, a 2010 graduate of University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Although he has only been coaching since 2010, his career has already seen him travel the nation in several different roles. After starting out as a wide receiver and video coordinator for the New Mexico Military Institute, he moved to Angelo State in 2011. There, he’d spend two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant, before taking the same role at the University of New Mexico.
After a brief stint at West Texas A&M coaching wide receivers and tight ends in 2015, Richter returned to his role of defensive graduate assistant at the University of California-Berkeley in 2016. After that, he made his way to St. Joseph, where he served as defensive backs coach in 2017, before his promotion to defensive coordinator in 2018.
The offensive coordinator for the Griffons is Dave Brown. Brown, who is in his third year at the university, got his start at his alma mater of Central Missouri in 2001, where his teams compiled a 43-13 record. Brown’s claim to fame, however, would come from his six-year stint in Nevada, where his pistol offense helped Colin Kaepernick throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards. He was the first NCAA player to do so in their collegiate career. Brown’s father, Paul, was inducted to the Kansas City Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016 after a career at Turner, Bishop Miege, as well as Baeshor-Linwood.
While the coaches may not get the praise and glory that the players receive, Griffon football is nowhere without their contributions day in and day out. The knowledge and experience they’ve attained over the years helped the Griffons go from a four-win team to a nine-win team in two years, with much more to come.