Longevity and consistency
Head softball coach Denny Griffin marks 40 years at Alma.
Dennis “Denny” Griffin is possibly the longest-tenured coach in Alma College Athletics history, and is certainly one of the most successful. But even after 33 years as head coach softball coach, and 40 as a Scot, Griffin is not finished yet.
“It’s longevity. I’m proud of it. I’m grateful I’ve been able to impact numerous lives in all the different roles as the head athletic trainer, men’s athletic director, athletic director, program director for our athletic training education program, advisor, teacher in IPHS, and head softball coach. It’s been a good fit,” Griffin said.
Griffin’s most recent team made it to the Regional Final of the 2022 NCAA Division III softball tournament, going 27-15 on the year overall. The challenge of revamping his teams every year due to the natural process of graduation, he says, is what keeps the job interesting for him and motivates him to continue.
Also motivating for Griffin is the likelihood of reaching 1,000 career wins. He has currently amassed an overall record of 972-382, good for third all-time in NCAA Division III softball.
By most any measure, Griffin is one of the most successful coaches in Alma history. His teams have won 15 MIAA championships, 11 MIAA Tournament championships, made 21 trips to the NCAA Tournament including 6 NCAA Finals and have never finished below .500 in a season. Among his athletes, there have been 74 All-MIAA selections, 12 MIAA MVPs and 14 All-Americans. Current and former players speak highly of him and he is similarly well-regarded among peers and colleagues.
He credits his current success to consistency in the Scots’ Athletics program and to his coaching staff. Assistant coach Phil Hansen has been with the team for 30 years and Brandee (Brower) West ’00 has been the junior varsity coach for 22 years. Assistants Michael Doran and Alan Schneider are similarly long-tenured.
When student-athletes know what to expect, Griffin says, they are in a good mindset to showcase the best of their abilities.
“You come to the office, you work hard, spend the time with your students, and you see that pay off. I tell recruits when I hit the road, nobody in Michigan has more consistency than we do.
“I think it’s a big credit to the Athletics program at Alma College — they have been supportive of my decisions, they provide great facilities and our leadership comes out to watch our games. That means a lot.”