GMC News

Rick Griffin wins U-R Player of the Year

May 29, 2010 GMC Prep’s Rick Griffin uses bat and arm to win U-R Player of the Year Keith Jump CNHI MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia Military Prep school’s Rick Griffin is the 2010 U-R Baseball Player of the Year, edging out Brent Dyer of John Milledge Academy, and Caleb Scoggins and Trevor Boyer of Baldwin High School. Griffin is booked for a full summer after signing to continue his education, military and baseball career at Marion Military Institute in Alabama. After graduation Griffin said he is slated to go to Marion then on to Kentucky for four weeks of military training. During his childhood, Griffin could be seen roaming the fields at the Baldwin County Recreation Department where he became a mainstay on the All-Star teams and was one of the first players chosen in the drafts. “I was lucky enough to have coach Chris Wood in rec. ball because he was always pushing me to be better,” said Griffin. While playing rec. ball Griffin was a member of the Junior League State Champions in 2007, showing he was one of Baldwin Counties best young athletes. Having an older brother, Jimmy, also motivated Griffin to become a better player at each level. “My older brother Jimmy always made it easy for me to be motivated to do better. I wanted to beat him or be as good as he was, so I just had to go out and work hard — so I did,” said Griffin. Griffin’s older brother may have some influence on his choice of lifestyle also, as he is in the Army stationed in Hawaii. Griffin also recalled one of his earlier meetings with head coach Garry Couch. “Once in middle school coach Couch came to see us practice and that helped motivate me, too, because I saw that he was going to always push us to be better and succeed,” said the well-mannered Griffin. These manners are one of the many things taught to him by his parents, Debbie and Rick. Beginning in his formative years, both Debbie and Rick were also mainstays at the recreation department in baseball. “My mom and dad were always there. No matter what, I could always look over and see them rooting me on with love and support,” said Griffin. “They were even there for my teammates and friends just in case their families couldn’t be there.” Family is a big part of what makes Griffin the young man he has become. Between his family and his school, the character that Griffin exudes shows that he is a student that is proud of where he came from — and who he will become. “God really blessed me with two of the greatest parents in the world. They have loved me and allowed me to grow but made sure they showed me the right way to grow as a young man also. My mom has taught me how to respect women and others while my dad taught me how to be a man,” said Griffin. Griffin also said coach Couch taught him how to carry himself on and off the baseball field. Couch was also instrumental in his growth as a player, a teammate and leader. That leadership ability came to the forefront this year as fellow seniors Will Parker and Matthew Harrison went down with injuries. With the season looking as if it could go down in shambles, Griffin stood up and took the reins of leadership as he had been taught and groomed to do. Losing six out of it first eight games and with a losing senior campaign staring GMC Prep and its leader in the face, Griffin stepped forward and pulled his teammates together. With the message of “we are better than this” and “we will persevere,” Griffin and the Bulldogs won 10 out of their next 12 games and were once again playoff bound. In the past, Griffin was known as an ace and a workhorse on the mound, but he wanted to be a more- rounded player in 2010. Knowing he needed to work on his hitting, Griffin received some help from GCSU asst. coach Clay Kuklick. It worked for Griffin as he finished the season with fantastic hitting stats that matched his pitching, and rivaled the numbers put up by any player in the state of Georgia. Griffin finished the season with the following numbers: (Pitching) 7-4, 63 innings pitched, 68 strikeouts and a miniscule 1.77 era. (Hitting) .492 batting average, 30 hits and 20 RBI. And with those numbers, Griffin helped his teams’ turnaround from a dismal start to a productive season. But those numbers led to another honor also: U-R 2010 Baseball Player of the Year. Congratulations, Rick, and godspeed on all your future endeavors!