'COACH G' is hanging up his whistle and making a move

TINA HARBUCK
Coach Ron Griffiths

Known about campus as "Coach G," Coach Ron Griffiths and head athletic director at Destin Middle School is making a move to Meigs Middle School to be the assistant principal.

Friday was Griffiths last day at football practice with the Destin Marlins. "Having to say goodbye was tough," Griffiths told The Log Monday morning.

"But I'd like to think I'm leaving them in good shape … just stay the course," he said.

Griffiths, who's been a part of Destin Middle for the past 15 years, has accumulated a lot of memories and accomplishments.

"It's been a good time. I couldn't have had a better school to start. I got treated like family by the faculty," he said.

Griffiths began in 1999 as a sixth grade history teacher. He also served as assistant football coach to Mike Utter and took on the position as head boys soccer coach and girl’s softball coach that first year.

"I had wanted to find a teaching job that came with a coaching position," he said, noting he had coached junior varsity ball in Wisconsin.

"I had a lot on my plate that first year. But I had fun and learned a lot. And I got a lot of help from volunteers," he said.

After that first year, he moved out of soccer and into coaching boys and girls basketball. And in 2002 he coached just boy’s basketball along with football and softball.

"I coached girl’s softball the first seven years," he said. And he later picked up boys golf for a couple of years.

Then in 2006 he was named head football coach and athletic director.

The last year he coached softball, the girls won the county title.

"That was a neat experience," he said to be a part of the first county championship for the school in that sport.

That same year the boy's basketball team won the county championship and the boy’s golf team the next year.

Last year he stepped down as head football coach, but continued to assist. But before he gave up the helm, Griffiths led the Marlins to a winning record in 2012-13.

"That team gave the football programs its best success. The talent and coaches were great. I'm just real proud of that," he said.

He said it was also rewarding to know that team made it to the first county playoff for middle school football.

Looking back he said, "I'd like to think I'm leaving that school with a little bit better record than when I came," Griffiths said.

"I'm very grateful for what they (the staff and volunteers) have done for me."

Griffiths will be taking on the job as assistant principal at Meigs.

"I'm leaving the coaching part behind, but I'll still be a follower of middle school sports and I look forward to keeping up with the sports programs.

As for Destin Middle, "I'll always have a special place for Destin. I spent a lot of time and energy in those kids and I want to see them do well."