Archie Griffin, two-time Heisman Trophy Award Winner – Power Play – Interview
Archie Griffin is the only two-time Heisman Trophy Award Winner in the history of college football. He received the bronze statue as a junior in 1974 and again as a senior in 1975 while playing tailback for the Big-Ten school, Ohio State University. He is also the only Big Ten player ever to start in four Rose Bowls. Aside from his athletic achievements, Griffin has worked behind the scenes as associate athletic director for OSU. In his free time, Griffin volunteers for the Wendy’s High School Heisman program which awards high school athletes who have also excelled in academics and philanthropy, This month, Griffin moves onto a bigger role at OSU, as its alumni president.
Parks & Recreation: What do achievement awards such as the Wendy’s High School Heisman trophy do for our youth?
Griffin: It’s a positive award. It let’s our youth know the great things they are doing in their community, in the classroom and in their sports are recognized. A lot of times we only hear about the negatives regarding our youth. This award let’s our youth know they are most definitely appreciated. This is a way to be recognized for the positive things they do and it gives them something to work for.
Parks & Recreation: After your football career, you returned to work for your alma mater, eventually becoming associate athletic director. How did you apply your background to the department’s goals and initiatives?
Griffin: Having participated in sports my whole life, I think I can understand what goes on with athletes and the whole dynamics of coaching. I feel my experiences with various coaches gave me an understanding of what players go through and what was expected of them. I certainly have a good understanding of Coach’s philosophies and their expectations.
Parks & Recreation: How are you going to transfer your knowledge over to your new appointment as alumni president?
Griffin: The things that I value in athletics will also be valued in my new position–people, commitment to excellence, high sense of integrity and climate of mutual support. I am a people person. I am a firm believer in people being the most important asset in a business. I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. With that being the case, one of the things I’m looking forward to doing is working with the staff of the OSU Alumni Association.
Park & Recreation: What do you attribute the most to your physical fitness and aptitude?
Griffin: Staying active. I believe it’s very important to stay in the best possible shape. I realize I certainly don’t have to be in the same shape as when I was an athlete in college and in the National Football League. But I feel being in good shape helps me not only physically, but keeps me mentally sharp too.
Parks & Recreation: Where does parks and recreation fit into your lifestyle?
Griffin: I owe a lot of things to my involvement as a youngster to Parks and Recreation. I learned about sportsmanship and teamwork. I also participated in the arts and crafts that were offered to me. Although, I cannot say I have a real talent in that area. But it was a fun part of the Parks and RecreatiOn program.
Parks & Recreation: What suggestions would you make to improving collegiate athletic programs nationwide?
Griffin: For the most part, I feel college athletics are in pretty good shape. Of course we have to make sure the balance is right between academics and athletics. I believe the athletic directors and presidents of the universities are working to make sure that is the case. We also need to remain focused on student welfare issues such as–the number of hours athletes are spending in sports and make sure they have time to be involved in other college activities that take place on campus, which will give them the opportunity to maintain a well rounded college experience.
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