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Eddie Griffin named athletic director at UCO

Eddie Griffin addresses the crowd after being introduced at a news conference Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Eddie Griffin addresses the crowd after being introduced at a news conference Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Saying an "old friend" was coming home, University of Central Oklahoma officials on Thursday introduced former Broncho wrestling coach Eddie Griffin as its new athletic director.

Griffin left his position as president of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to return to the place where he led the Bronchos to three NAIA championships during his four-year run.

"In addition to the (national championship) banners we have the man," UCO President Don Betz said when introducing Griffin at Wantland Stadium. "We have someone who really represents the family nature of this place."

Griffin said his affection for UCO is the primary reason he accepted the position.

"It is home to me," Griffin said. "I have always loved UCO. I have a lot of friends here."

The move also reunites Griffin with Betz, who was president of Northeastern Oklahoma State University during Griffin's final year as athletic director of the Tahlequah school.

Griffin, an Oklahoma City native, left Northeastern in 2008 to join the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

At age 68, Griffin is becoming an athletic director again to oversee a multimillion dollar budget and a 14-sports program.

Asked if he felt the UCO job was a calling, Griffin said: "You kind of hit it on the head. A door just seemed to open and I had an opportunity and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I am full of energy still."

Griffin said the place he is leaving, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, has a bright future.

"I felt like I left the wood pile a little higher than when I got it," he said. "The future for the Hall of Fame is great because it is going to Bricktown Ballpark. That is going to be a great venue."

While wrestling coach at UCO, Griffin produced 26 All-Americans, including 11 individual national champions.

Griffin led the Bronchos to their first-ever national wrestling title in 1979 and then won back to back crowns in 1981 and 1982.

He left UCO in 1983 for Clemson where he was the wrestling coach for nine seasons. He returned to Oklahoma in 1992 to become athletic director for Oklahoma City Public Schools. He left that position in 2000 for the similar post at Northeastern.

A graduate of U.S. Grant High School, Griffin wrestled at Oklahoma State University for head coach Myron Roderick, where he was part of two national championship teams.

He replaces former UCO athletic director Joe Muller, who resigned in August after an eight-year stint.

James named Hall of Fame president

 

Mike James has been named as the new president of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, replacing Eddie Griffin who was named Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“We are indebted to (Griffin's) vision and commitment to propelling the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to its present position,” said Gregg Vandaveer, chairman of the OSHOF board of directors.

Vandaveer called James a longtime supporter of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, having served in multiple leadership roles for almost 20 years, including seven as chairman of the board.

James left Enterprise Holdings in 2015 after a 32-year career and currently is a vice-president and financial sales manager for First Citizens Bank.

 

Related Photos
<p>Eddie Griffin, shown here in a 2012 photo, is the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</p>

Eddie Griffin, shown here in a 2012 photo, is the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c_7f37a00bd4ec20b4511e91cfe8b4024b.jpg" alt="Photo - Eddie Griffin, shown here in a 2012 photo, is the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Eddie Griffin, shown here in a 2012 photo, is the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Eddie Griffin, shown here in a 2012 photo, is the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ba06cc6ff54ff8fa5406a443cd55607c.jpg" alt="Photo - Eddie Griffin addresses the crowd after being introduced at a news conference Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Eddie Griffin addresses the crowd after being introduced at a news conference Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Eddie Griffin addresses the crowd after being introduced at a news conference Thursday as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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