When Kenton Griffin was 4 years old, his parents noticed he had an unusual attachment to athletics.
Griffin would join his father, Herman, at various sporting events. When he was at home, he would stretch out on the floor and draw pictures of football stadiums filled with people—including the goalposts.
“They always say when you expose a child to something when they’re young they will pretty much grow up doing those same things,” Herman Griffin said.
Griffin’s sports fanaticism extended into his teenage and adult years. He played football and basketball at James Monroe. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2007, he joined the football coaching staff at his high school alma mater.
Griffin will no longer be on JM’s coaching staff. That’s because earlier this week he was hired as the Yellow Jackets’ new athletic director.
Griffin replaces Mary Crismon, who has announced her retirement and will officially exit June 30. Griffin called the opportunity to lead JM’s athletic department “a dream job.”
“I’m just extremely excited about it,” he said.
Griffin, 35, lives in Stafford County with his wife Shannon and their dog, Bella. He received his Master’s in athletic administration from Ohio University in 2017.
He’s served as JM’s assistant athletic director since 2014 and was the football team’s defensive coordinator from 2010–19. As assistant AD, he facilitated the Yellow Jackets’ social media pages and worked on projects such as the school’s annual holiday basketball tournament. He also initiated a yearly turkey drive around Christmas.
Griffin said he aims to build a high-character athletic department.
“I believe we can have a strong program on and off the field,” Griffin said. “I’m extremely huge on grades and all of that.”
James Monroe boys basketball coach Carlos Evans said he worked closely with Griffin on the basketball tournament. He said it’s become an event the Fredericksburg area looks forward to. In working with Griffin, he noticed how passionate he is about the school.
“He just bleeds black and orange,” Evans said. “He’s a product of the school system and he really cares about all the sports, not just the ones he [coached]. He’s just a good person that comes from a great family. I’m excited for him. I know this is something he’s been looking forward to and I’m glad he’s gotten the opportunity.”
Griffin’s family has deep roots in Fredericksburg and at James Monroe. Both of his parents graduated from Walker-Grant High in the 1960s.
Herman Griffin has worked at JM since 1992 and is the school’s alternative education coordinator. He has broadcast JM football games for three different outlets since 1979 and now does so for the Fredericksburg City Schools’ television station.
Virginia Griffin, the new AD’s mother, served as a business education teacher from 1985 until her retirement in 2016.
Evans said Griffin’s relative youth and the way he interacts with the students at JM should serve him well in his new role. Evans said Griffin also has a good rapport with other Battlefield District athletic directors.
“I think that’s important to be able to have a personality and to build a relationship with the kids,” Evans said. “That will be big for him. The kids gravitate towards him, and he’s super intelligent.”
Griffin steps into the position with one major vacancy. The Yellow Jackets are searching for a football coach to replace Rich Serbay, whose 35-year tenure ended in February.
George Coghill has worked as JM’s interim head coach since Serbay’s departure. Griffin noted he doesn’t officially take over until July 1 and the position may be filled before then.
Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526
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