Griffin tackles football and wrestling


James Madison University Sports

Gerren Griffin poses for his player photo as a redshirt junior playing football at James Madison University.

Cole Parker

The Grady Athletic Department recently hired Gerren Griffin as head wrestling and assistant football coach. In addition to coaching, Griffin will teach in the physical education department after working for six years in Clayton County.

In his youth, Griffin did not participate in wrestling. It was not until he was an adult that he came into contact with the sport. However, Griffin did play varsity football in high school, and later on, he received a scholarship to play in college.

“I played at Sandy Creek High School and then went on to play college football at James Madison University in Virginia,” Griffin said.

Griffin majored in physical education in college.

“At James Madison, I got my degree in sports management, and then I went to West Georgia to get my master’s degree in education,” Griffin said. “I’ve always had a plan to get into education, and through my college degree, I’ve put myself in the right position to teach physical education, which I really love.”

During Griffin’s final year in Clayton County, he was the head football and assistant wrestling coach at Forest Park, which is in the 4-AAAAA athletic division. At Forest Park, Griffin helped many players get the opportunity to play collegiate football.

“I’ve sent kids to play at power five schools,” Griffin said. “Last year, we sent seven kids to play college football.”

Griffin believes his experience will benefit the Grady football program.

“I’ll be coaching the offensive line, which I feel is one of the more important positions on the field,” Griffin said. “I’m looking forward to helping [head] coach [Kevin] Clark as much as possible. I’ve been a head coach before, and I want to assist and serve him to allow his vision for the program to blossom.”

Clark also believes Griffin’s presence will be helpful.

“Having another guy who has been a head coach on staff is invaluable,” Clark said.

At Forest Park, Griffin coached the wrestling team to a third place finish in the county. With this momentum, Griffin hopes to expand the Grady wrestling program. For example, he is using the program’s Twitter to post updates and raise interest.

“I like everything about Grady; I like the diversity; I like what they are doing as far as renovating the school, and I truly believe that we can build an awesome wrestling program,” Griffin said. “The coaches that are still with me did a great job, and I think that we can get a lot more interest going and get more kids signed up to wrestle because it’s an awesome sport.”

The Georgia High School Association recently implemented a restricted plan that allows teams to start practicing as early as June 8. The restrictions included in the plan are intended to protect the health and well-being of athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Griffin and his fellow coaches have pledged to put safety first.

“There have been extensive procedures put in place,” Griffin said. “Coach Clark and myself are making sure that we have everything put together where safety is the number one priority. The GHSA is the governor of high school sports in Georgia, and they have given us a long list of must-dos, including social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing. We take ensuring the health of our student-athletes seriously, and we are going to make sure that we do everything that is asked of us to maintain safety regarding COVID-19.”