Jeff Griffin began his time at Mountain Pointe as a track coach in 1994 when Anna Battle and Karl Kiefer started the programs.
He remembers it as a special year, one of 31 coaching the sport for Griffin, and he was proud to eventually became the head coach for Mountain Pointe after spending a decade coaching in California in between.
Griff confirmed Wednesday that he is no longer the coach of the program after the Arizona Republic reported earlier in the day that Tim O’Neil, a hurdler coach at Brophy, is in line to be the new leader of the program.
Pride officials would only confirm that the school is still going through the process and would release a statement once the new coach has been board approved.
O’Neil told the Republic he was the man.
“I’m really excited,” said O’Neil, who also assisted the hurdlers at Xavier. “I’ll have the opportunity to work with someone like (Pride assistant) coach (Larry) Todd. He’s such a good guy. He has produced more world-class long jumpers and triple jumpers for track. It’s amazing.”
Griffin, 57, said the good thing about the decision is the ability to focus on what is expected to be a pretty special football season.
“That’s where my attention needs to be,” said Griffin, who is the defensive line coach. “We have a very big game (in Las Vegas against Bishop Gorman) in about 30 days and four games in a row later in the season that demands our full attention.”
After all these years, coaching both sports, he is feeling pretty good about having a secondary role without having to worry about his responsibilities as a track coach, which is now a year round sport.
“I’m fine with working with Coach (Norris) Vaughan and focusing on what we are trying to accomplish,” said Griffin, who is a handful of years away from retiring from as a physical education teacher. “I’ll be here to support, coach, pat kids on the butt and that’s fine. My focus is now solely on football and that’s where it needs to be right now.”
The track program set the 4x100 state record in 2012 and should garner more attention the next two years as sprinter Paul Lucas takes a shot at state records after already owning Mountain Pointe records in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes.
“The thing of it is Mountain Pointe even when Anna Battle and Karl Kiefer started years ago has always been successful in track,” he said. “I have no doubt that success will continue whether I am a part of it or not.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.