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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawk hill family ties

Cindy Griffin started coaching for St. Joe’s three years before Kaylie was born. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GRIFFIN FAMILY

Like the start of any new season, there comes an adjustment period for the incoming first-years. Whether it’s balancing classes along with practices and workouts, bonding with teammates or getting familiar with certain locations around campus, it can feel daunting being in a new environment away from home for the first time. 

However, Kaylie Griffin’s transition to Hawk Hill is unique. The daughter of head coach Cindy Griffin not only grew up around St. Joe’s, some of her earliest memories are of being around her mother and the women’s basketball team. 

“When I was very young, I used to come to camps a lot with my little sister but my youngest memory was when we traveled to Spain,” Griffin said. “I was five years old and I remember going into a gym and helping stretch the players.”

Coach Griffin, now entering her 21st season of leading the St. Joe’s women’s basketball team, said that Kaylie would frequently tag along on road trips, sometimes even joining in when the team was warming up or preparing for games.

“I would throw her into some of the drills with the girls,” Coach Griffin said. “She was nervous at first but once she got comfortable, she did a nice job getting confidence.”

Griffin’s mother isn’t the only family tie that she has when it comes to St. Joe’s. Her cousin, John Griffin II, was the men’s basketball head coach from 1990-1995, and the current associate head coach for the men’s team is her other cousin, John Griffin III.

With so many members of her family associated with St. Joe’s basketball, it’s no surprise that Griffin grew up a student of the game. As a kid, Coach Griffin remarks that Kaylie would join her in watching film, something that doesn’t always occur when a parent is a basketball coach.

“She has a high basketball IQ, which is what you expect but doesn’t always happen all the time with kids of coaches,” Coach Griffin said. “You know, some kids just aren’t interested but she would sit right next to me and always watch game film.”

The time spent studying film with her mother most certainly paid off. During her high school career at Gwynedd Mercy Academy, Griffin led her team to three repeating district titles while also demonstrating her strong basketball IQ by continuing to steadily improve her assists averages every year.

It’s not just her basketball smarts however. Graduate student Katie Jekot adds that Griffin’s energy and ability to knock down shots is something that will contribute to the team’s success this year.

“She’s a really positive player so it’s great to have her around and she can shoot the three,” Jekot said. “She spreads the floor out. It’s easy to give her an open shot and she’ll hit it.”

When it came time for Griffin to choose where she was going to continue her athletic career, she decided to join her mother at her St. Joe’s. Griffin said that her decision was not only based upon her deep connection to the university, but also seeing first hand how her mother’s program has benefited preceding players.

“Being around the environment my whole life, knowing the players growing up, and seeing how they benefit from the program and playing for my mom,” Griffin said. “I think deep down and subconsciously, I always wanted to be a part of that.”

And how did Griffin tell her mother that she would be joining her on campus? With a slideshow and card on Mother’s Day. 

“My sister and I actually made a slide [show]. It was all the pictures of me at St. Joe’s and us traveling,” Griffin said. “I wrote a Mother’s Day card that said I’ll play for you and then we both cried.”

 Coach Griffin remembers the surprise and how she was caught off guard.

“It was like, ‘Alright Kaylie, what are you going to do here? What’s the story?’,” Coach Griffin said. “It was really sweet. We had a nice moment, a tearful moment.”

With the first game of the season starting Nov. 9 against University of Maryland Eastern Shore at home, Griffin is looking forward to beginning her collegiate career.

“I’m just excited to get going,” Griffin said. “I feel like this whole preseason, we’re building up and have all this energy. I’m excited to see what happens on the court.”

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