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Akron Hoban has a 'Triple Crown' in coach, educator and principal T.K. Griffith

Photo of T.K. Griffith embracing his son on the court
Scott Dudek
T.K. Griffith, who has coached the boys’ basketball team at Archbishop Hoban High School for more than 30 years, embraces his son, Andrew, after winning the state championship last year.

The boys’ basketball team at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron has a lot to celebrate these days. The team is the defending Division I state champion led by coach T.K. Griffith, who recently notched his 500th win.

Ideastream Public Media’s sports commentator Terry Pluto calls Griffith’s journey “remarkable.”

“At of at the age of 21, he was student teaching at Akron Hoban. That was his alma mater, and the head basketball coaching job came open. He was also coaching at the junior high level. But, you know, he just went in and applied for the head coaching job. His father was pushing him to do it, but with no thought of getting it. And they hired him,” Pluto said.

That was 31 years ago.

“You could say, well, that's his alma mater or whatever, (but) in the modern age of high school coaching, where whether you're in a private school or public school, you know, folks get mad at you and run you out. And he's won a lot of games. But it's not like he's been one of these guys that goes 28-and-2 every year,” Pluto said.

Pluto said when Griffith first became coach, he wasn’t much older than many of his players. And, Pluto emphasizes that Hoban isn’t a big powerhouse school when it comes to Division I college offers.

“He’s had a lot of kids go to the D3 schools; they’ve had good grades. It's been that kind of program. And that's another thing I just really appreciate about Akron Hoban, because right now, a lot of coaches feel so much pressure to win and to prepare and to get their kids to the summer camps and get their kids to get recruited and to deal with the college application processes. You know, these coaches are involved in a lot more than, okay, here's how we're going to throw the ball and bounce when we're down by two points,” Pluto said.

Photo of T.K. Griffith and team after Griffith's 500th win
Sebastian Hahn
T.K. Griffith recently celebrated his 500th basketball win at Hoban.

In addition to coaching, Griffith is also an English teacher and was hired as principal in 2021.

“So, after a year of being principal, he said, you know, ‘I need to get back in the classroom, at least for one time a day.’ So, he took the honors English class, which he used to teach. At one point he was teaching five English classes a day, you know, different grades, and coaching. Here's a guy that is always been looked at as, ‘I am here to teach, whether I'm here to teach basketball (or) I'm here to teach English,’” Pluto said.

At 52, Pluto said Griffith likely has many more years of coaching ahead.

“I just wonder how many of these coaches are going to last that long at any school, it's one of those things. Sometimes you say, yeah, 500 wins is great, but there's a powerful story behind it that goes well beyond the wins and losses. Not too often do you say, ‘Boy, the coach is a great educator and administrator.’ You get the Triple Crown,” Pluto said.

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