Family and friends in recent days mourned the death of Doug Griffin, the man who coached a state championship-winning girls basketball team at Murray County High School and three times was elected superintendent of the county school system.
Griffin was 88 when he died at his home in Chatsworth last Tuesday.
Former teacher France Adams recalled Griffin as a “good friend and a good boss.”
The two taught together when Griffin came to Murray County in 1959 to teach and coach football and girls basketball.
“We became friends back then and later when Doug came back and was elected superintendent, we remained friends,” Adams said.
Griffin was elected superintendent a total of three times. He won elections in 1972 and 1976, lost in 1980 and then came back to reclaim the office in 1984. He was the last elected school superintendent in Murray County.
“Doug did a really good job as superintendent,” Adams added. “He cared a lot about his teachers and other personnel, as well as the students.”
Kenneth Moore played quarterback and halfback for the Griffin-led Indians from 1961-65.
“Coach Griffin treated all of us boys like we were his sons,” Moore said. “Football practice was fun; he wanted it to be fun. We worked hard but the coaches wanted us to enjoy it, too.”
“Back then, we only had three sports, football, basketball and track. We only had four coaches. They all coached football. Coach Griffin coached girls basketball as well.”
Moore said he got to know Griffin well in high school.
“Back then, if you played all three sports like I did, you were around the coaches all year,” he said.
“I remember Doug as a pleasant person, a calm and easy going person to be around," Moore said. “Over the years, when I would see him, I felt the same way. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him.”
Griffin coached some good football teams at Murray County but found his greatest athletic success on the hardwood.
His Lady Indians captured a Class AA state title in 1965, edging Dodge County 34-32 in the tournament finale. The Lady Indians whipped Hart County and Douglass County in earlier matchups.
Current Murray County School Superintendent Steve Loughridge said that at the next school board meeting, he will ask board members to consider naming a road that is located on school property in honor of Griffin.
“He served Murray County very well as a coach and a teacher and then as a superintendent,” Loughridge said. “This is a great loss for our community.”