(Photo Courtesy of UW Athletics/YouTube)
Arizona State has found a new head golf coach after the unexpected resignation of Tim Mickelson this past month. Ray Anderson decided to pull the trigger on former Washington head coach Matt Thurmond, the team announced on Monday morning.
Thurmond comes to ASU with a decorated resume. He took over at Washington and made the Huskies a powerhouse in the NCAA golf world.
His team went to the NCAA tournament 12 times, having seven top-10 finishes. Washington won the tournament three times under Thurmond, taking home titles in 2005, 2009 and 2010. In addition, the Huskies also won three NCAA Regional Tournaments.
Thurmond won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award in 2005 and 2009, as well as being named the Palmer Cup Coach in 2009. Three of his players – Nick Taylor, Chris Williams and Cheng Tsung Pan – eventually ascended to No. 1 in world amateur rankings.
With the departure of Mickelson, who left for other opportunities, ASU might have found a star replacement.
“Matt Thurmond’s background at Washington and his record of success is right in line with the direction we are headed with the men’s golf program,” Anderson said in a statement. “He embraces the concept of family and the success that community embeddedness can bring to a program.
Thurmond was a top candidate not only for his coaching abilities, but also for his fundraising. The ASU Karsten Golf Course is in the works to be torn down for new athletic facilities. As the team moves to Papago Golf Course in the near future, Anderson hopes Thurmond will provide leadership for the project. Thurmond led the project in Washington that helped the Huskies build their multi-million-dollar golf center and practice facility.
Although ASU lost its top golfer in Jon Rahm, there’s no reason to worry about the future of ASU golf. The team has four returning upperclassmen, including Jared Du Toit.
Du Toit finished ninth at the RBC Canadian Open this past weekend. His score was good enough to make him the lowest scoring amateur in history at the Canadian Open. Du Toit is an early favorite to contend for the Pac-12 Player of the Year, and possibly a Ben Hogan Award.