Following a two-year stint as an infielder in the Chicago Cubs organization after getting drafted in 1998, Griffin worked his way up the ladder at his alma mater, Southern Poly, where he had earned a degree in business administration.
When the University System of Georgia announced it would be folding Southern Poly into Kennesaw State in 2015, requiring the former to drop its athletic programs after the 2013-14 school year, another opportunity presented itself.
Griffin was named the assistant athletic director for internal operations at Kennesaw State this past week. The 38-year-old Toccoa native will oversee the operations of the Owls’ soccer, softball and men’s and women’s tennis teams. He will also be an advisor for the university’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“I’m excited and thrilled to be here,” Griffin said, “and I’m appreciative of (athletic director) Vaughn Williams for giving me this opportunity to help (Kennesaw State) continue their rich tradition of success that they’ve had.”
Griffin is eager to tackle the challenges of working for an NCAA Division I institution, after his 14-year stay with an NAIA program. He will be on site for all the home competitions of the sports he’s overseeing, and he will be available for assistance as he oversees the budgets of each team.
Griffin will also be a member of Kennesaw State’s senior management and strategic teams.
“Any time you’re going from a small college to Division I, there are different things about the job that I’m learning every day,” Griffin said. “But we have great leadership from the top and it’s a family atmosphere.”
Williams spoke highly of Griffin.
“Matt Griffin is a tremendous addition to the Kennesaw State department of athletics,” Williams he said in a release. “His experience as an athletic director, head coach and student-athlete are exceptional qualifications to have and will serve Kennesaw State and its student-athletes extremely well.”
Griffin started his professional career as an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater before he was promoted to head coach in 2004. He eventually gave up coaching duties in 2012 to become Southern Poly’s athletic director.
In Griffin’s two-year stint as athletic director at Southern Poly, the men’s soccer team made an appearance in the NAIA elite eight and the women’s basketball team made consecutive showings in the NAIA tournament. In the baseball team’s final season, it made an appearance in the NAIA Word Series for the third time.
Griffin went 364-169 during his nine-year stint as baseball coach, in which Southern Poly set a school-record 53 wins in 2009 and reached the NAIA World Series.
Griffin lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Leslie, and their two children, Grace and Luke.