UNION CITY – Mike Griffin is leaving Mississinawa Valley High School after three years, two if which he served as both athletic director and head football coach.
Pending school board approval later this month, he will become assistant athletic director and return to the classroom at Preble Shawnee High School.
“I have stepped down as football coach, that’s official,” Griffin said Tuesday. “As far as the athletic director position, I am waiting on Preble Shawnee’s board on June 28. Once I am approved there I will resign here.
”I have told them here so they could begin the process of searching,” he continued. “It’s always a tricky thing in education with waiting on board approvals but I wanted to give (Superintendent) Doug (Dunham) and (Principal) Jeff (Winchester) enough time to find a suitable replacement.”
In two seasons as head football coach, Mississinawa Valley went 1-19 under Griffin, but that one win came last season against Bradford and it snapped a 30-plus game losing streak for the Blackhawks.
“Overall from the first year to the second year I think we went from not competitive to very competitive in most games,” Griffin said. “We had the lead in six games. We only won one of those, of course, but we got better and the understanding of the game improved as well. It was just one of those situations where we couldn’t put it all together for one game. If we played well on offense, then the defensedidn’t play well or it may have just been the opposite if the defense played well, the offense did not.”
Griffin said his players were among the first to know of his decision.
“I accepted the job Thursday night and met with the kids on Friday morning,” Griffin said. “We have a great junior and senior class who pretty much have played since they were freshmen, so I just explained to them the decision I made and told them this is their time to shine. I know they will work hard and I wish them the best of luck.”
As athletic director, Griffin said he has tried to get many projects accomplished. Some have been done and others still need to get off the ground.
“With the help of my baseball coach we got new scoreboards up at the baseball and softball fields,” Griffin said. “We also started a new website last year (www.blackhawkathletics.org) and we are about halfway to raising the money needed for delay of game clocks at the football field. We’ve raised about $4,000 of the $8,000 we need so hopefully that will continue so it can get done.
“There have been some really good things that have happened the last couple of years that were neat to see and be part of that history,” he added.
As is the case any time you leave a place you have spent some considerable time, Griffin said he is both happy and sad in leaving Mississinawa Valley. Not only has he been the football coach and athletic director, he also was dean of students and the transportation supervisor.
“I am excited for the opportunity at Preble Shawnee,” Griffin said. “It will be a different look for me. It will be the first time in 16 years that I haven’t coached football. I don’t know how I’m going to take that, but am going to get a chance to work with some at-risk kids who need help in life skills so that will be a new challenge.
“I’m excited and sad at the same time,” he continued. “I love the kids here. The principal and superintendent and all the teachers I’ve worked with on a daily basis have been great. I hate leaving them especially in the middle of June, but at the end of the day I felt it was the right fit for my current situation. I’m proud of being able to help the kids get what they deserve. In the end that’s why we are here to help the kids. Whether you are a teacher or athletic director you are here for the students to give them the best facilities and the best experience possible.”