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Matt Thurmond steps down as head golf coach at University of Washington; led many PNGA champions

The University of Washington has announced that Matt Thurmond will be leaving his position as head coach of the school’s men’s golf team to take a position as head coach of the men’s golf team at Arizona State University. Thurmond recently completed his 15th season as head coach of the Huskies.

Matt Thurmond
Matt Thurmond

Thurmond’s Huskies were a perennial national championship contending program. With 12 total NCAA Championship appearances, Thurmond’s teams averaged a ninth-place national finish, including seven top-10 finishes. The 2009 Golfweek National Coach of the Year and two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (’05, ’09), Thurmond coached Washington to three conference titles in 2005, 2009, and 2010.

“To all of the incredible friends, mentors, colleagues, donors, supporters and most of all student-athletes who have made the last 16 years at UW the time of my life: thank you for making this experience so incredible,” Thurmond said. “At the end of the day, the time was right for my family and me to challenge ourselves in new ways, but I will always owe a debt of gratitude to so many Huskies who made our time in Seattle so unforgettable. O.D. Vincent and others passed to me a great program and the last 15 years have been good for the Huskies, but I felt then and still feel now that the best days are still ahead for UW Men’s Golf.”

Thurmond recruited, coached and mentored many players who made their mark in PNGA championships, and received numerous PNGA honors. Players who received the PNGA Player of the Year honor include Chris Williams (2011, 2012), Nick Taylor (2008, 2009), Alex Prugh (2006), James Lepp (2003, 2005), Brock Mackenzie (2003 – co-winner with Lepp); and PNGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year awards went to Husky players Lepp (2002), Kevin Kwon (2011), and Frank Garber (2013).

Prugh also won the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur (2001), as did Jens Bracht (2007) and Frank Garber (2013); and incoming recruit Sam Warkentin won it in 2014.

Last week, current UW sophomore Carl Yuan won the 115th PNGA Men’s Amateur.

An impressive recruiter, Thurmond coached three No. 1- ranked world amateurs over the last six years. In 2010, NCAA Championship runner-up Nick Taylor won the McCormack Award and the Ben Hogan Award, as did Chris Williams in 2012. CT Pan, the top-ranked amateur in 2013, also finished as the NCAA Championship runner-up in 2015 as a senior. Thurmond also coached James Lepp to the 2005 Individual National Championship, the first Husky to win the NCAA title. Overall, Thurmond has coached 25 All-Americans for eight first-team honors.

Thurmond began his coaching career at Washington as an assistant coach in 2000, before taking over the men’s golf program at the age of 26 in 2001. Prior to UW, Thurmond served a season as an assistant coach for BYU.

Following the departure of Thurmond to ASU, University of Washington Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen announced a national search for a new leader of the Husky Men’s Golf program.

“I want to thank Matt for his years of dedication and service to UW,” Cohen said. “You would be hard-pressed to find a coach who has been more dedicated to their program than Matt has been to Husky Men’s Golf, and I wish him and his family the best in their new challenge.”

“With the help of my executive staff, I have embarked on a national search for a leader who can build on this strong foundation and take us to even greater heights,” Cohen said. “Considering the remarkable support offered to the student-athletes in this program, I expect a deep and talented pool of interested candidates.”