Half way through his fourth year of coaching the women’s golf team, Matt Johnson has already seen a vast improvement in the focus and talent of the team. On the men’s side, not having the luxury of building a rapport with his team, interim coach, Kris Kroetsch has had to take a different approach with his group of young golfers. We sat down with both coaches to talk about their team’s, strategies, and of course, Amy Anderson.Photography By J. Alan Paul Article By Joe Kerlin
Bison Illustrated: So coaches, how have your seasons been going thus far?
Matt Johnson: “Its been going great. We have been having the most success we have ever had, we have just been kind of improving slowly and things have been kind of coming to a culmination this spring with players and getting good scores.”
Kris Kroetsch: “In each of our events right now, we continue to improve in each round and we need to keep doing that because our conference tournament is coming up and our goal is to win that tournament…We got a great group of guys and we think we have a good shot of doing it this year.”
BI: Not a lot of people know who you guys are, so who are you!?
MJ: “I started golfing when I was thirteen. I’m from a small town of Valley City. Fourth-year coaching the women, had a stint with the men from 2001-2004, when we were division-two. It (the team) means everything. I tell them I don’t want to coach anywhere else, this is my team and this is where I want to be and I want to keep moving forward.”
KK: “I grew-up in Grand Forks and I have played golf, I think I started when I was fourteen, played with Red River. Played regionally and played some stuff nationally and tried to see how far I could take my career professional wise…I’m very happy where I am now and I still actively play in all of the state opens and section championships.”
BI: Coach Johnson, you have been coaching Amy Anderson for four years, what’s her contribution to the program been like?
MJ: “Well, we have quite the senior class obviously with Amy, who has played a big role in the improvement of not only the team but she kind of motivates the others to work harder and get better because that is the main reason we have improved, but she has been used as a recruiting tool too.”
BI: Coach Kroetsch, you are the interim head coach, what’s the story behind that?
KK: “I started right before Christmas in December. Bill had resigned in November and I took over right after him. It’s exciting and I’m happy to be here. I think they (players) have been happy with it and I think they like having me around because of my background in golf and everything, I’m still an active player and everything.”
BI: What’s your coaching philosophy for an individual sport such as golf?
MJ: “The first tournament was to practice your training because you have to get the feeling of golf again because you can hit balls all winter, but you have to get the feel of what you’re doing and what the ball is doing so it takes really a couple of tournaments to do that.”
KK: “I know what it’s like when you’re playing good and I know what it’s like when you’re playing bad. I think I have a good sense of how to approach them on the golf course when they are in the situation.”
– Year: 4th
– Alma Mater: Valley City State University
– Credentials: Former Men’s Coach, Won 1993 North Dakota College Athletic individual championship, Three-time All-Conference Performer
– Year: 1st
– Alma Mater: University of North Dakota
– Credentials: Eight-time Dakota Chapter PGA Player of the Year, Two-time NCAA Division II regional individual qualifier