Thurin began coaching for the NPCC women’s basketball team in 2001. At the Junior College level, he has been honored by being named Region IX Coach of the Year four times and District F Coach of the Year twice. He has taken the Lady Knights to the National Tournament twice during the past three years.
He has also had several Academic All-Americans on his teams and one Academic All-American team, and enjoys it immensely when “his” girls get awards, both in academics and in basketball.
Thurin was valedictorian of his graduating class at Ong High School. While in high school he played baseball and basketball. His oldest brother, Leland, was his basketball coach. It was then that Thurin realized that he wanted to be a coach also.
“I’ve always wanted to guide young people to get an education and get their lives on the right path,” he said.
Following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, Thurin attended Fairbury Junior College where he received an Associate’s Degree in Education. He played football for the first time at Fairbury and also played basketball for two years.
He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (then known as Kearney State). He played basketball for one year while at UNK.
Thurin did graduate work at Colorado State University, Chadron State College, University of Northern Colorado, Wayne State College, and the University of Nebraska. He taught high school and coached at Roseland (now Silver Lake) for two years.
Most of Thurin’s high school teaching and coaching career was at Grant (now Perkins County), where he taught history, government, and law classes. He also served as an assistant football coach, assistant boys basketball coach, Mock Trial coach, and head volleyball coach and is credited with starting the girls track and girls basketball programs at Grant.
Thurin received several honors while coaching in high school including the Buffalo Bill Coach of the Year award. He coached the Girls All-Star basketball game for the Nebraska Coaches Association and coached the Girls All-Star basketball game at Cambridge twice. He also received the Gold Award from the Franklin Circle for girls basketball and girls track, as well as receiving the Silver Award from the Franklin Circle for girls volleyball.
While at Grant, Thurin and his wife, Karen, sponsored the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for more than 20 years. He served as president of the Grant Education Association and was also a member of the Nebraska State and National Education Associations.
Thurin is an active member of the Grant United Methodist Church and has served on several committees, including being Chairman of the Administrative Council and SPRC for many years. He is a member of Lions where he served as president of the Grant club three times. He is in his second term as a member of the Perkins County Health Services Board.
Dick and Karen Thurin have been married for 47 years. They have one son, Trent, and two granddaughters, Abby and Zoe.