ARGYLE — Ricky Griffin has had plenty of success as a coach, both on the baseball and football fields, since joining the Eagles’ staff in 2007. But few years have compared to this one, as Griffin’s son — Storm Griffin — is by his side as an assistant coach.
Storm, who is working on obtaining his teaching certificate through iTeachTexas, is a special education aide for the Argyle school district and joined the Eagles as an assistant coach in football and baseball this year.
It’s been a special year for Ricky and Storm, who had been looking forward to coaching together since Storm’s playing days at Southeastern Oklahoma State came to a close in 2015.
“I’m blessed,” Storm said. “It’s my first year on the staff — I’m getting to go to Austin. A lot of people wait their whole career for that experience, and getting to do it with my dad is definitely a special thing. We’ve been wanting to coach together since I got to the end of my college career, and it’s been a really good time. It’s been really fun this year.”
Storm was a freshman when Ricky came to Argyle from Wylie to serve as head baseball coach and defensive backs coach. Ricky could see Storm’s potential as a coach during his time at Argyle, as Storm starred as a free safety and pitcher for the Eagles.
“I always thought I was going to be a coach,” Storm said. “In college for a little while, I looked at some different things and explored, but I always knew I wanted to coach. Once I finally decided what I wanted to do teaching-wise, I jumped right into it and worked toward getting my teaching certification. I got out here as an assistant this year and have been working at it ever since.”
When Ricky Griffin took over the baseball program, Argyle was still looking for its first playoff win. Things have changed quite a bit since then, as the Eagles have solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the nation over the last two years.
Argyle won its first playoff game during Ricky’s first season as head coach and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in 2014. The Eagles won their first state title in 2015, added an undefeated state championship last season and advanced to state again with a 38-1-1 record this year.
Argyle departed for Austin early Tuesday afternoon, and will play La Vernia in the Class 4A state semifinals at 4 p.m. Wednesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The 4A championship game is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
“The culture has changed quite a bit,” Storm said. “I mean, we were good when I was in high school, but we’re quite a bit better now. The guys have been really successful, and it’s been really cool getting to see the evolution of this program from where it was when I was a freshman.”
Storm’s role with the team has centered around helping assistant coach Steve Stinson with the pitchers, where Storm’s knowledge of the game and experience as a player have been a valuable asset.
After playing four years of varsity baseball and a handful of impressive seasons on the football field, Storm went on to play football at Southeastern Oklahoma.
He switched to baseball when injuries cut his football career short, and his experience as a college athlete has helped to foster relationships with a team that features 10 players who are either committed to or signed with Division I programs.
“I love working with Storm,” Argyle pitcher Chad Ricker said. “He’s pretty laid back, and we kind of just bounce ideas off of each other. He’s really bright, he knows his stuff and it’s kind of nice to have a younger guy in the dugout to learn from and talk to.”
Ricker is one of 14 seniors on the roster, and Ricky Griffin has emphasized throughout the year that part of what makes this Argyle team so special is how close the group is.
Several of the team’s top players have competed together since youth baseball, and seven of the 14 seniors have played a significant role since their freshman or sophomore year.
Regardless of how things play out in Austin, it has been a memorable year for the Argyle baseball program — both for the seniors, as they look to cap their career on a high note, and for Ricky and Storm Griffin, looking to end their first season coaching together with a state championship.
“It’s been everything for me,” Ricky Griffin said. “It’s been something I’ve wanted to do, and Storm and I are going to coach together for my last six or seven years. We’ve always said it was something we would love to do, and it’s really important to me.”