Alma Mater: Michigan State (B.A., 2003); Wayne State (M.A., 2005); Michigan State (M.S., 2008)
Roosevelt University Head Men's Basketball Coach Joe Griffin enters his third year at the helm of the Lakers, continuing to reconstruct a program that was dormant for 21 years. Named the fourth head coach in school history on August 17, 2009, Griffin has quickly backed up his reputation as a tireless recruiter and dedicated instructor and in-game tactician.
In less than 12 months Griffin built a squad that took to the hardwood for the first time since 1989 and quickly proved they belonged. Just 10 games into the 2010-11 campaign, the Lakers recorded a signature win with an 89-78 triumph over defending Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champion St. Xavier. Griffin's coaching acumen was evident in the development of his student-athletes over the course of the year, including junior guard Paul Tometich, who blossomed into one of the league's top players. Under Griffin's tutelage, Tometich led the CCAC in scoring at 21.4 points per game, while also ranking in the top 10 in rebounding and assists en route to All-League honors.
The 2011-12 season was a great success for the Lakers in only their second season of play, going 9-20 overall, good for a 5-win improvement. The Lakers finished second in the conference in Opponent 3-pt FG% and second overall in offensive rebounding, confirming their style as aggressive and always on the attack. Roosevelt also finished third in the conference in steals and in defensive rebounding percentage. The Lakers were lead by seniors Paul and Mark Tometich, with Paul earning 2nd-team All-CCAC and Mark earning Honorable Mention All-CCAC. They were joined in recognition by junior Brandyn Denson, who was voted 2nd-team All-CCAC as well. The Lakers recorded signature wins at home over Ashford and conference rival St. Francis, while playing an ultra-competitive schedule, including three NCAA Division I exhibitions.
Griffin joined Roosevelt after spending the 2008-09 season as an assistant at NCAA Division II Eastern New Mexico University. The 32-year old Michigan native learned his trade, though, under the tutelage of Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, serving for two seasons (2006-08) as a graduate assistant coach for the Spartans.
At Michigan State, Griffin played pivotal roles for the Spartans in the areas of player development, strength and conditioning, opponent and self-scouting, travel, film exchange and recruiting. In his two seasons with the Spartans, Griffin aided Michigan State to 50 wins and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the ‘Sweet 16' in 2008.
Griffin's coaching philosophy, which emphasizes defense and rebounding, was reflected in the Spartans' play during his tenure. The squad led the Big Ten in rebounding margin and was amongst the nation's leaders in field goal percentage defense each year. Griffin helped in the development of many former and current Michigan State standouts during his tenure, including NBA Draft pick Goran Suton (2009 All-Big Ten), Travis Walton (2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year), Raymar Morgan (2008 All-Big Ten), Drew Neitzel (2008 All-Big Ten, All-America Second Team), and Kalin Lucas (2009 Big Ten Player of the Year).
Griffin obtained his second graduate degree in 2008, a Master of Science in Coaching at Michigan State. He was also a guest instructor within the Kinesiology department of the College of Education and a featured speaker at the 2008 Spartan Strength & Conditioning Clinic.
Following his two years at Michigan State, Griffin headed to the southwest to take on assistant coaching duties at Eastern New Mexico University. During his short tenure, Griffin established strong recruiting ties in the state of Texas, and in the southwest, broadening his recruiting horizons.
Griffin's strongest recruiting ties remain in his home state of Michigan. He was born in Flint and later graduate from Romeo High School in Romeo, Mich. Griffin went on to play two seasons at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Mich., before heading to Michigan State, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising in 2003.
Griffin's next stop was graduate school at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich, earning a Master of Arts in Sports Administration and taking his first coaching job, leading the freshman team and assisting the varsity team at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, Mich., during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Griffin headed to Jacksonville, Fla., for one year as assistant varsity boy's basketball coach and English teacher at Sandalwood High School before returning to his home state to take the graduate assistant position for Coach Izzo.
Griffin is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as well as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Assocation (IBCA) and has worked and been involved with numerous basketball camps and clinics throughout the country. He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Oak Park. The couple has one son, Jackson Joseph, and a daughter, Colleen.