MELBOURNE, Fla. — Denny Griffin, who for 35 years has led the Alma College softball team as its head coach, reached his 1,000th career win Tuesday, with a 1-0 win over Eastern University.

Griffin, who has coached at Alma for the entirety of his career, is just the 50th softball coach in NCAA history to reach the milestone mark. His 1,000 wins put him third among active NCAA Division III softball coaches and 22nd among all NCAA softball coaches. Griffin is just the seventh coach in DIII history to reach 1,000 wins.

“It’s a great milestone. Not a lot of coaches get to win 1,000 games in their career,” Griffin said following the game.

“It really is the result of 35 years of young women coming to Alma College with the dream of playing college softball. They put their heart and soul into Alma College. You look at people like (assistant coach) Phil Hansen, who’s been here for 30 years, and the amazing coaches that I’ve been lucky to have on my staff over the years. It’s the dedication of those around me who enable me to achieve milestones like this one. At the end of the day, I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to change so many lives.”

Griffin’s journey began in 1989, when he took the reins of the Alma softball program. That season, the Scots went 19-10, including an 8-4 record in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play. One season later, Griffin’s impact was felt. The 1990 Scots won 27 games (11-6 MIAA). This marked just the second season in Alma history where the Scots reached 20-plus overall wins, with double-digit wins in the MIAA.

But it would not be the last. Alma’s first MIAA championship under Griffin came in 1994. It was the first of 14 titles that would come, including a stretch of nine straight seasons where the Scots took the top position in the conference, going 119-11 in MIAA play, and collecting 301 overall wins to 76 losses.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for Denny Griffin, his staff, and the student-athletes who have played for the Scots softball program,” said Alma College Vice President and Director of Athletics Sarah Dehring. “Denny’s success is nationally known and this only adds to his already-incredible legacy of success on the field and mentorship off of it. We are incredibly proud of him.”

Griffin has recorded 31 seasons with 20 or more wins, and 24 seasons where his team has picked up 10-plus wins in conference play. His single-season highs in terms of total wins came in 1999 and 2000, when the Scots won 46 and 42 games, respectively. During Griffin’s tenure, Alma has seen 10 MIAA softball MVPs, four MIAA Most Valuable Pitchers and 204 All-MIAA selections.

The Scots also shined on the national stage. Alma has collected 98 All-Region selections and 19 All-American selections, to go with 47 wins over 21 NCAA DIII Softball Tournament appearances. They have competed five times in the DIII National Championships in Salem, Virginia.

With his 1,000th victory, Griffin now lays claim to over 90 percent of Alma College softball’s all-time wins, and will look to collect more victories in the future.

Prior to becoming Alma’s softball coach, Griffin worked for several years as the Scots’ head athletic trainer and athletic director.

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