NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans have named Fayette Ware High School's Randy Griffith their Week 7 Titans H.S. Coach of the Week.
Coach Griffith's Wildcats won their first game of the season, defeating the Middle College Bulldogs 34-6. The Wildcats' decisive victory ended the football program's 65-game losing streak. Fayette Ware had not won a game since 2007 and the victory was the first for its seniors, making it quite a triumph for Griffith and his team.
Upon receiving the head coaching position this season, Griffith planned to change the culture of the team, moving on from the past. Part of the change included Fayette Ware High School embracing increased safety measures and joining the Heads Up Football program. We reached out to the Coach Griffith and discussed the Heads Up Football program and his beliefs of improving safety measures and the overall culture of the program.
Coach I know this year is your first year at Fayette Ware, so what attracted you to sign up your program for Heads Up Football?
We had several young men returning to our program that wouldn't play football because they had received concussions in previous seasons. I feel like a concussion can either come from an equipment issue or a coaching issue, not being taught properly on how to protect yourself or we're not providing you with the proper equipment and at Fayette Ware both of those things were the case. We were getting by with the bear minimum as far as equipment, and the team in the previous year only had two coaches on a 4A football staff, which is very difficult. We (coaching staff) got out and connected with the churches, the community and the business leaders and raised the money needed for new helmets so our boys could be safe. I brought in a staff of quality coaches who have been successful in the past and taught the players how to protect themselves and be safe.
With those additional measures and your community outreach, did that increase the numbers on your football team? Did it make parents more willing to allow their children to play?
Definitely. Once the parents of the community saw what the football program was now about, providing the best for their kids as far as instruction, organization, and equipment. Many parents allowed their son to come out and play for us. Also you can imagine fighting a 60-plus game losing streak, which was something we had to overcome as well. So when a kid sees a brand new helmet and brand new shoulder pads and they see you are trying to do the best for them, it helps on that end as well.
Now that you are implementing the Heads Up five steps of tackling, are you seeing fewer instances of concussions?
Well we have been very blessed this year and we have had no concussions this year. They (previous coaching staff) had five players last year with concussions. We are very happy with our results thus far.
Coach Griffith will continue his efforts to make the game safer for his student-athletes as he moves forward in the season. The Tennessee Titans wish him all the best and hopes his Wildcats can put another game in the win column. As the Coach of the Week winner, Griffith will receive a $1,000 grant benefiting the Fayette Ware football program.
The Tennessee Titans have provided grants for teams across the state for over 15 years. Over that period the Titans have provided $181,000 toward the Titans High School Coach of the Week grant program with hopes of improving the game throughout Tennessee.