|Posted on April 6, 2017 at 12:35 AM|
Article by Dan Tortora
On "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora", former Syracuse Orange men's basketball players Ryan Blackwell, Otis Hill, and Roosevelt Bouie, Jr., said that if they were offered the assistant coaching vacancy at Syracuse University, they would take it.
But it seems like that job opening is going from vacant to occupied, with former Orange guard Allen Griffin returning to the school he once suited up for.
The timing for Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and Griffin could not have been more perfect. Longtime Orange assistant coach of over two decades, Mike Hopkins, decided to take a head coaching position with the Washington Huskies, leaving an open seat on the Syracuse sideline, while head coach Archie Miller left the Dayton Flyers for the same position with the Indiana Hoosiers, following Indiana's firing of Tom Crean. With Miller moving from the state of Ohio to Indiana, the Flyers had a position to fill, which they did with Anthony Grant, who most recently has been serving as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
All of these moves with the Dayton program has left Griffin's future there uncertain, opening the door for a return to Syracuse.
Griffin played for the Orange from 1997 through 2001, beginning his career averaging 2.4 points per game and ending at Syracuse with 10.8 points per game. The Orange made it into the NCAA Tournament in all four of Griffin's seasons, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice within those four seasons (1997-98 & 1999-2000). Syracuse also became Big East regular season champions with Griffin on the roster in the 1999-2000 campaign.
With Griffin on the team's roster, the Orange won 98 games in four seasons.
Following his student-athlete days, Griffin traveled overseas, playing as a professional in Slovenia.
He attained his first opportunity in the coaching sphere when he oversaw the girls' basketball program at Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Syracuse, New York.
Griffin would head down the road from CBA back to Syracuse University to serve as an administrative assistant on Boeheim's staff for two seasons, providing him with coaching experience under Boeheim to go with his experience as a student-athlete, learning from Boeheim from two different perspectives.
He would move on to become an assistant for the St. Francis (NY) Terriers' basketball program, the Providence Friars, back to St. Francis (NY), then onto the Hofstra Pride, before landing with the Dayton Flyers.
While with the Flyers, Griffin coached against his old team when the Flyers met the Orange in both the 2014 and 2016 NCAA Tournaments, ending the 2014 postseason match-up atop the Orange 55-53 but falling to his old team in 2016, when Syracuse advanced past Dayton, 70-51.
His return to the Orange rids Boeheim of having to coach against someone who knows what it is like to be inside the program.
Instead, Griffin will now use his experience as a recruiter as well as on-court coach and gameplan prepper back to his old stomping grounds, and keep the alumni status throughout the Syracuse assistant coaching staff.
His ties to his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, along with his midwest and east coast connections that he has developed over the years as an assistant coach, coupled with him being a former Orange student-athlete himself will give Syracuse another asset on the staff with exponential potential.
Leave it to Boeheim to take a reputable staff already with Associate Head Coach Adrian Autry and Assistant Coach Gerry McNamara and enhance it even further.
Welcome back, Allen.