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PROFILE: Gainesville High girls basketball coach prides himself of having a calm demeanor, deep love of the game
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Gainesville High girls basketball coach Alan Griffin talks with players during a timeout against North Forsyth on Tuesday in Gainesville. Photo by Robert Alfonso Jr.

Alan Griffin is a calm and quiet person by nature.

Now, on the sideline as the Gainesville High girls’ basketball coach, he is filled with passion and is always willing the program to any victory possible.

“It’s what I love to do,” said Griffin. “I believe basketball can be won by a single possession. There are so many little things that can be coached or willed along.”

Up next, the Lady Red Elephants (8-8, 1-4 Region 6-7A) visit Lambert High at 6 p.m. on Friday.

At some point, fans will see Griffin look toward a play sheet and then yell instructions to the players on the floor. If a shot goes up, or any loose ball is not chased down, he is encouraging those Gainesville players.

“I ask the kids to play the passion and energy,” Griffin said. “I feel l have to match them.”

This passion on the sideline started when he was a first-time, 22-year-old coach. His first coaching job was at Columbus’ St. Anne-Pacelli middle school program.

Then, Griffin was fired up and always riding the referees, he said.

Those days have since passed.

Griffin is locked in on Gainesville, in building the program back to what it was in the past.

The desire to help build up young people is something that comes natural for the 36-year-old Griffin. He listens to people as a counselor at Gainesville High.

But there was a moment Griffin had to listen to his own voice.

For two years, as an administrator at White County High, he was away from coaching.

However, he was not too far from the gym, attending games, while doing administrative duties.

It did not matter when those moments took place in the gym, Griffin was hungry to be back on the sideline coaching.

He is in 15th year in education, but none harder than the time away from the hardwood.

“It was a hard two years,” Griffin said. “Luckily, I was in a good place and working with good people at White County. It kept me busy. I was still in the gym, just about every night, in the winter but not getting to do it (coaching) drove me crazy.

“There is really no cure for that.”

Being back on the sideline makes him happy.

Griffin is driven to build the next generation of young leaders through basketball.

Griffin does not allow the passion to seep off the court, at all.

“I am a very calm person by nature,” said Griffin, the school counselor. “I do a lot of listening during the day. My nature is to help people. Most importantly, I am a father and a husband.”

When the Lady Red Elephants’ coach gets home to his wife, Jennie, along with their children Maggie (10) and Tripp (6), that becomes his No. 1 focus.

Being passionate for family and coaching is nothing Griffin knows how to switch on and off. 

They are both equally important to him.

“The best advice I ever got in coaching was to be yourself,” Griffin said. “Don’t try to be anybody else. It is really truly who I am. I try to be who I am and not anybody different. A switch does flip, but I don’t know how to turn it on or off.”

 

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