Snapshot: Jim Griffths
Years at AACC: 7
Coaches: Women’s lacrosse, Women’s soccer, Women’s cross country (coming in fall 2007)
The AACC Women’s Lacrosse Team
A two-part series
Part I: The Coach
They’ve done it again. Under the leadership of Coach Jim Griffiths, the AACC women’s lacrosse team cleaned up this season, taking the title of national champions of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for the second year in a row. In addition, they racked up a fourth regional championship, closing out their season with a stellar undefeated season record.
“It’s been good, it’s been a lot of fun,” Griffiths says. “I get to deal with a lot of good kids. I needed a change from high school and this provided the perfect thing I was looking for.” Griffiths, who celebrates his seventh year at the school and fourth year coaching the team this year, came to AACC after coaching at Old Mill High School. He eventually took on the role of head coach for women’s soccer and lacrosse, setting a precedent of success and hard work. Because of his coaching and the program’s consistently sharp record, the team has been recognized by the NJCAA, an athletic association that promotes junior college educational and athletic advancements.
“The four years we’ve been here, there have been 59 wins and five losses, so losing is not something that the girls in the program, the parents and the public expect us to do,” he says. “This falls on myself and the girls to keep that up. It’s part of a self-imposed pressure; the girls expect to win and I expect to win.”
On a sunny May day this past spring, the women’s lacrosse team headed home after claiming an unforgettable win at the national championship game in New York. When they pulled into AACC they were greeted by a group of staff and faculty members who wanted to be the first to congratulate them after a long and victorious season. The word CHAMPS was spelled out in signs, each one held by six faculty and staff.
“It was more relief for me than anything,” Griffiths describes his response to their win. “I think we were favored to win. When you win and you’re favored to win, it’s kind of a relief. The players here have set a standard that that’s what is expected.”
The team is comprised of 16 players who will all mostly likely go on to play at four-year schools after AACC. Coach Griffiths invites anyone to come try out for the team, as long as they are up for the commitment.
“We try not to cut,” he says. “If anyone is doing well academically and wants to come play, we’ll keep whoever wants to put in the time and effort for as long as we can.”
Coach Griffiths has a lot of be proud of, but he does his best to stay objective when comparing his program with other community colleges and focus on the team’s concrete success. “I think our record on the field and our record at placing girls at four year colleges speaks for itself,” he says. “If you compare it to other junior colleges in the area—it is what it is.” kr
Read Part II: The Players