This past year, Matt Griffin served as Roman Catholic High School’s athletic director, worked as the Philadelphia-based school’s boys’ basketball head coach and taught five algebra classes.
Essentially, he worked three jobs that require full-time effort.
“So this is an amazing opportunity for me to dive in, full-time, to a sport I love and in an environment that’s extremely competitive,” Griffin said Tuesday of accepting a job as an assistant coach on new UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings’ coaching staff. “And, it’s at a place that, in my mind, is truly special not only as a university, but also to my family.”
Matt Griffin’s dad, John Griffin, coached at Siena from 1982-1986, compiling a mark of 70-44 in four seasons coaching in Albany County. John Griffin later coached at his alma mater Saint Joseph’s for five seasons.
Matt Griffin is 31 years old, so he was born after his father’s time coaching Siena. A Philadelphia native who played college basketball at Rider and Boston University — the latter where Killings was an assistant coach when Griffin was there — said he’s thrilled to start his college coaching career in the Capital Region, where his father first became a college head coach.
“Somehow, I’m back in Albany and kind of following in his footsteps,” Griffin said.
Griffin called Albany a “basketball city,” and he’s surely headed to the Great Danes from one of them. Griffin played his high school basketball at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, spent a couple seasons as an assistant coach there after participating in Teach For America for two years, and spent the last five seasons coaching at tradition-rich Roman Catholic, which Griffin coached to appearances in the Philadelphia Catholic League championship in his last four years at the school. Griffin’s teams won two of those championship games, and he described it as “bittersweet” to leave the school.
“But I’m super-excited, too, to get started at the University at Albany,” Griffin said. “Change is good, and I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t an amazing opportunity, so I’m truly blessed and really excited.”
UAlbany officially announced Monday the hires of Hamlet Tibbs and Griffin after Killings said last week that he planned to have both men on his coaching staff. Tibbs, an Albany native and graduate of Troy High School, spent the last seven seasons coaching at America East Conference rival Vermont.
Killings said Griffin is “a guy that I think the world of” during his introductory press conference last week.
“He’s done some really, really good work and he’s been dying to be an assistant coach at the Division I level, so we’re going to give him an opportunity,” Killings said.
With that opportunity comes the chance for Griffin to invest fully in coaching after a job at Roman Catholic that saw him overseeing 17 different athletic programs and preparing lesson plans for algebra classes in addition to his responsibilities as a basketball coach.
“I’m excited to see the results from just focusing on one thing every day,” Griffin said.