Steve Griffin prepares to try on a Yellowjacket cap after he was introduced as the Starkville High School boys' track and field coach on Monday. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
Starkville High School athletic director Stan Miller was looking for another energetic coach to plug into an already successful program.
When there became a vacancy with the boys track program, Miller and girls track coach Caroline Woomer identified quickly the person for the job.
Steve Griffin was introduced by Miller and Woomer on Monday afternoon as the new boys track coach. Griffin replaces Chris Barnett, who left to take a position at Pearl with his father.
"I don't want any lazy coaches," Miller said. "With coach Griffin and coach Woomer by his side, our track program is going to be in great shape."
Griffin comes to the Yellowjackets out of the Meridian program and brings a measure of energy with him.
"When I'm on the track, I'm all about it and giving my energy to the kids and let them feed off that," Griffin said. "I'm a true believer that you can't do this sport and be a part of this program without having the passion and energy that goes with it. I'm that type of person and I compete with the kids sometimes. I'm getting a little older so I have to pick my moments."
Griffin called it "a whirlwind process" in how he became the newest track coach in Starkville.
After visiting with Woomer's husband at the first half of the AAU national qualifier two weeks ago, Griffin and Woomer met last week in New Orleans and talked. Woomer called Griffin the following Monday and set up an interview for the next day.
Woomer said Griffin brings the experience the Jackets need.
"He was exactly what we were looking for and will give us what we need to have a complete track program," Woomer
said. "We are solid in our distance and sprints, but where we were hurting was jumps and hurdles. He will be a perfect fit."
Griffin is originally from Amory and ran track collegiately at Southern Mississippi.
Even though he came to the Golden Eagles as a jumper and hurdler, Griffin eventually became a decathlete.
"As I finished, the coach realized I could do multiple events so I'm familiar with a majority of the events for track and field," Griffin said. "I'm still learning. I'm willing to learn any other area of the track and have a skill set for that."
With his ties to Northeast Mississippi, Griffin was already familiar with Starkville and the area.
He looks forward to continuing the tradition that has been established over the years with the Jackets.
"I felt it was a privilege to come back, come here and see if I can make a difference," Griffin said. "I see myself helping this program win state championships and multiple state championships if at all possible. It all comes down to having the right players with the right mindset and putting in the work to get that chance.
"They have a great foundation already with Chris being here and I'm familiar with him being at Pearl. With me coming in, the coaches are already ready and the kids here are already ready. For me, whatever flavor I've got to the mix, we'll see where it goes."
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