Southern Utah News Articles
Fredonia's Hall of Fame Coach: Mont Griffiths
Coach Griffiths is not a giant sized athlete. He is an amazing specimen of a winning coach however, standing tall at 5’3”, strong in body and mind. When he was inducted into the coaching Hall of Fame in 2000, it was a long overdue honor. His winning football and baseball career had spanned over 40 years by then. Nonetheless, he was very much honored to be one of only five coaches selected by a committee of his peers representing all Arizona high schools and all sports.
Coach “Griff” explained that playing eight-man football is a giant chess game. Teaching the fundamentals well, until every player is fluent in the process, is essential. Each opposing team is carefully scrutinized and the plays have a whole new intensity every game. Then analyzing and adapting before each game so each player understands, “This is what the guy across from you is doing.”
Football is not just executing plays, it is the coaching techniques that start with walking the opposition’s field before a football game. Studying the holes and habits of opponents leads to inspiration when the offense is close to scoring, or when the defense is desperate. Every ball game requires using the same plays. However, the plays are executed differently with each opposing team, depending on the player’s routines and the insightfulness of their coach to make good decisions.
In baseball, Fredonia had a batting order that scored big, with an amazing record team batting average of .412. Two players hit .750 and .660, so Coach Griff had a heavy hitter at the start and one to bring them home when the bases were loaded.
This past year, Coach Griff celebrated his 80th birthday and still moves the hand irrigation lines watering his hay fields. He and his wife Carla have maintained their ranch near Tropic, Utah, located 90 miles from Fredonia, with the exception of two years when they served an LDS mission in Durban, South Africa, and when Mont had open heart surgery.
Anyone who knows Carla will agree she has been a gigantic support to Mont through many seasons. She and Mont raised five children and most often, Carla and their children were at the ball games Mont coached.
Coach Griffiths has won the respect of his team on and off the field. Along with sharing his love of the game, he has set brilliant examples of discipline and dedication. His coaching contributions will continue to be remembered by hundreds of students who have played under his tutelage.