Jamie Griffin takes on challenge to bolster Holy Spirit football
Thu. July 03, 2014 at 12:22 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Jamie Griffin has been hired as the head football coach at Holy Spirit Catholic High School. (Photo by Andrew Carroll)
Jamie Griffin is no longer employed by the state of Alabama, but he’s not easing into retirement.
Griffin, 56, has been hired as the head football coach at Holy Spirit Catholic High School. He replaces Greg Kosloff, who plans to stay on as the baseball coach. Kosloff was able to keep the program going for two seasons, but the Titans went 2-18.
Griffin spent 24 years at Tuscaloosa County High School, where he was a coach, teacher and administrator. He retired as an assistant principal.
Griffin, who revived the TCHS wrestling program, coached the defensive linemen on the 1997 football team that won the AHSAA Class 6A championship.
“When I first began teaching and coaching, I taught for six years at West Blocton,” he said. “I was an assistant football coach and head wrestling coach. I started the program there. The last year that I was at West Blocton I was the head football coach, so the opportunity to teach and coach in a small school setting was very appealing.
“We need to increase participation, and the basic things are installation, getting our offense and defense in and making sure that the kids know their assignments and getting to know players and personnel. All those things are very important. Yes, I am kind of behind the eight ball in some respects because I’ve come in so late, but I’m very excited about the opportunity to come here and try to build something. I’m looking forward to having fun coaching football again.”
Griffin guided West Blocton to a 6-4 record and a Class 3A playoff appearance in 1990.
After Kosloff stepped down, assistant Ryan Hudson was named the interim head coach to lead the team through spring training. Griffin said Hudson will remain on the staff as the defensive coordinator.
Holy Spirit moves up to Class 2A and will compete in Region 4 with Pickens County, Francis Marion, Fayetteville, R.C. Hatch, Thorsby and Vincent.
“Competition is competition,” Griffin said. “That’s our goal, to make the school competitive in football, and I really believe that it’s not just possible, we’ll be able to do it. It’s something that’s very achievable.”
Griffin said he might have to use junior high players to bolster the varsity numbers.
“You would like to have a middle school program and a high school program,” he said. “The reality is that, as of right now with our numbers, there is a distinct possibility that we may have to use some kids who are junior high level. That’s not a preference, but it may be a necessity until our numbers go up and we’re able to have two distinct programs.”
Griffin said five junior high games have been scheduled “and we fully intend to participate on that level.”
Griffin has a plan for the offense, but he doesn’t want to give away any information.
“I know what we’re going to run, but I would prefer for it to be a surprise,” he said. “Obviously, early in the season we will have to be very basic, very vanilla.
“I think every football coach would probably tell you Friday nights make everything worthwhile. There are always certain aspects of football which are drudgery, but you make up for all that on Friday night.”
Griffin, who is from Pittsburgh, Pa., played football and wrestled in high school. He enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1975. He was a walk-on in Alabama’s wrestling program and earned master’s degrees in history and English.
“I basically never went home,” he said.
Scott Perry, former assistant principal at TCHS, is the new principal at Holy Spirit. Perry is a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
“I felt like we needed someone who understood all the facets,” Perry said. “It’s not just X’s and O’s because there’s bookkeeping involved and there’s running a program. With him being a wrestling coach and a head (football) coach in the past, I know he’s up for the challenge.
“He and I have had lots of conversations about football and what’s required to win at a school that doesn’t have a lot of athletes. He’s got a really good plan, and I’m excited to see that plan come together on Friday nights. I know he’s going to do a good job because I know the kind of person he is.
“The main thing is, I know the kids are going to be disciplined and they’re going to work hard. He’s going to lead in the way our Catholic faith would want our leaders to lead.”
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