Off the Field With Coach Griffin

Joe Genova, Staff Writer

Around here at St. Joes, we all know who Coach Griff is. We know his name and maybe he says hello to us in the hallway. Most of us know he is the varsity head coach, others know him as a gym teacher, or maybe you recognize him as a part of the “Dean Team.”  Yes, Coach Anthony Griffin does all of that for this school and a lot more. The coach does whatever he can do for the Charger community.

Before he came here, Coach Griff was one of the founders of the Urban Preparatory High School varsity level football team. He was their head coach for four years, along with being a P.E. teacher. His team had much success with only one losing season while he held the position. But even before he was coaching football, he was a student of the game. He played through high school at fellow La Sallian Christian Brother’s school St. Patrick’s. From there he went on to play at Northern Illinois University and then began his coaching career as an assistant at his old high school right out of college. After playing football through college, coaching football for over a decade, and starting a successful varsity football team from scratch, Coach Anthony Griffin came to St. Joseph’s to “reconnect with his catholic school roots.”

After last year’s football season Coach Griffin said to me, “the team learned how not to quit.” When all of the senior players last year were leaving, only nine of them decided to stay, and the coach says that “they were the strongest seniors in the school last year. When all their friends left for different schools and teams, they stayed because they loved the game.” The football team is a work-in-progress here at St. Joes. Griffin’s philosophy is that he “wants the team to learn how to compete.” So far we’ve seen that competitive drive in his squad in the first few games, like when they were down only 8-6 to Gordon Tech at Elmhurst College last Friday.

When asked what his philosophy to help kids here at the school is, he told me, “Positively demanding. Same as when I’m coaching. You can’t be against the kids, for every one time you yell at them, give them two compliments. Don’t let them put their heads down.” Coach Griffin, along with a lot of staff here at the school, has a lot to do around here and he does it because he wants to see this school progress in years to come.