December 19, 2020

By Fred Liggett

Jesse Griffin is used to receiving honors thanks to the talented teams he has coached throughout his career as a Cross Country and Track and Field coach. The latest honor was not a conference, district or a state championship but a new title of Hall of Famer.

LS West Head Girls Cross Country and Track and Field coach Jesse Griffin was one of six coaches inducted this year. Griffin and the others were inducted into the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Columbia, Mo. on December 11. Griffin was voted in in this his first year up for the hall of fame honor.

Coach Griffin now in 13th year at LS West is in his first year serving as vice president of the coaches’ organization, and will be president in the next year. Griffin played a part in preparing for this year’s event thanks to having Hall of Fame duties which included seeing firsthand the tabulation of votes.

Griffin is the third LSR7 school district coach to be honored in this fashion joining Dave Denny and Russ Childress. Griffin on the honor is quick to thank coaches, parents, teachers and “the great athletes who want to work and buy into what you are doing.” Griffin feels “very fortunate” to have those ingredients at the home of the Titans.

Having so much success at LS West Coach Griffin feels is due to the Titans have “an expectation of excellence from Dr. Hertzog all the way down.” Coaches are “urged to do the best you can.” Griffin feels he benefits from multi-sport athletes at the school. Many of his all state performers come through the middle school programs. Griffin finds his players “have a love of running, a passion for team and enjoy a family atmosphere which continues to this day.”

For coach Griffin being around other big name coaches in the sport is no surprise as he attended Kansas University and competed in the Big 8 conference under longtime KU Coach Gary Schwartz. Schwartz coached Griffin and many others until his retirement in 2000. Following college Griffin has spent time coaching at Rider High School, Raytown South, LS North before landing at LS West. Now Coach Griffin will continue his career known to many as a Hall of Famer.