Before watching college football on TV on Saturday, Richard Griffiths spent time smashing Middleton’s girls’ basketball game from last season.
Griffiths, the former University of Wisconsin basketball player, plans to study a lot of the Cardinals’ games after he was named the Middleton girls’ basketball coach on Friday.
“I’m so excited,” said Griffith, 47. “It is a new chapter in my life. It gives me the opportunity to use the things I have learned from training.”
Richard Griffith averaged 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.6 pieces per game in 1993-94, his freshman season in the UW.
Middleton athletics director Jimmy Sims said Griffith’s selection expired on Friday.
Griffith replaces Jeff Kind, Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame coach who retired last month After 30 years of training at Middleton. Sims said Griffiths began working with the Middleton campus support team last year.
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“After knowing him for two years and knowing his skill set – and he’s an amazing human being – I’m really excited to have him join our sports team,” Sims said.
Sims is eager to know how Griffith will lift Middleton’s show.
“He’s following in the footsteps of the great Jeff Kind, so it won’t happen overnight,” Sims said. “It will take time to build relationships. I am thrilled to have him join our Middleton team.”
Griffith, who is 6-foot-11, a native of Chicago, played for UW from 1993-95 and became a performer in the Big Ten Conference.
From left, Howard Moore, Michael Finley, and Richard Griffiths were all part of the Badgers’ 1993-94 team that earned their first NCAA title in the program…
Michael Finley, Tracy Webster and Griffith, during his freshman season, helped lead the Badgers to the NCAA Championship in 1994—the first NCAA appearance in UW since 1947. Griffith was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1995, but was not signed with The team ended up playing abroad for 15 years, including in Turkey, Italy, Israel, Spain and Romania.
Sims said Griffiths was not a head coach for a high school team.
Griffiths said he has coached teams and players at Al Ain University in Chicago and beyond. He has also served as a mentor for UW basketball players, particularly the senior men on the Badgers Greg Gard coach program. He said he has learned from coaches who have had him in his career and can train different offensive schemes, including swing and flexibility. He said he taught boys and girls basketball.
“Coach Kind was an amazing coach,” said Griffiths. “He’s been here for 30 years. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. He wins a lot of games. He has his way of coaching. I have my way. Greg (Garde) took some of the things he learned from Bo (Ryan) and made it his program. I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel.” I want to keep the tradition.”
He said that he wanted to see the skills of the Middleton players and plan for this talent, wanting to improve the skills of the athletes. He also wants to build a culture that helps girls improve as students, players and individuals.
Griffiths said he was very concerned when Sims approached him about the opening after Kinde resigned.
“The pool (of candidates) was not as large as we expected,” Sims said. “Richard really stood out no matter how many we had.”
As a candidate, Griffith impressed a panel of staff and players, particularly in terms of how he related to the players, Sims said, adding that he liked how “high pace” Griffith was with the group.
“It was just me,” Griffith said.
Now, he is excited about this opportunity.
“It’s a blessing and so appreciated,” Griffiths said.
Kane said in August that his wife Linda got a new job at Tomahawk and they decided to move to Phillips.
Kind compiled the overall record 634-291 as a girls’ coach in public schools (including Middleton), and is the fifth winning tag in state girls’ basketball history, according to the WisSports.net records.
Middleton has advanced to the WIAA Division 1 State Championship 12 times, all under the supervision of Kind.
Middleton finished second four times – in 1993 (for Gainesville Parker), 2003 (Oshkosh West), 2011 (Glendale Nicollette) and 2019 (Bayport).