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Collected Wisdom: Eddie Griffin, Executive director of the Jim Thorpe Association

by Jacob Unruh Published: November 10, 2012

Eddie Griffin says he's been fortunate to be around good people throughout his life. Griffin, the executive director of the Jim Thorpe Association, had an impressive wrestling career. 

He wrestled at U.S. Grant under the tutelage of Virgil Milliron and then at Oklahoma State under coach Myron Roderick, where he was part of two national championship teams. 

Griffin then went on to a great coaching career at Ardmore and Del City, Central Oklahoma and Clemson before becoming athletic director at Oklahoma City Public Schools and then Northeastern State University.

Now, Griffin has been instrumental in the development of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Griffin talked to The Oklahoman about the influences in his life and what got him to where he is today.

You showed up on time and you did what you're supposed to do, and then you did more. Then you had a chance to win. That's kind of my coaching philosophy, too.

My parents are both 84 and live in the same house that I lived in when I went to Jefferson (Middle School) and U.S. Grant. That's a story in itself.

My mom and dad were both orphaned before they were 8 years old.  My dad is from Tennessee and my mom is from Forth Worth, Texas, and they just happened to meet in Oklahoma City. The rest is history.

I guess I use the word character a lot for Coach Milliron and Coach Roderick. They expected you to do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it and do it the right way. When that didn't happen, they let you know it. They're both coaches in that regard. They weren't afraid to keep you going in the right path.

I was just dumb enough or smart enough, what I don't know, just to hang with them.

As you talk to kids and you coach, you've got to give them what the expectations are and hold them to the expectations. Sometimes you have goals and sometimes you reach those goals, sometimes you don't, but at least your expectations are you're going to reach them.

Things I always stressed was being teammates, character, dependable and integrity as teammates. That's how you make it in life, too. Business is a lot like sports; if people trust you, they know you work hard and you're trying to do the right thing, then they're probably going to work with you. If you don't, then they're probably not.

I tell everybody how good a coach I was. He got third in the state when I coached John Smith (at Del City his freshman year), and when I left after that all he did was win state championships and national championships and world championships and Olympic championships. 

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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