SYLACAUGA -- Sylacauga’s Matt Griffith resigned as head football coach Tuesday morning. Griffith also will retire as a teacher at the end of the school year.
“It is something that my wife and I have been talking about since December, January,” Griffith said. “It is always a hard decision when you come to this, but we feel that it is time.
“To be honest with you, it would not be fair for me to announce my retirement and not resign from football to give the superintendent and Board of Education a chance to hire someone fairly quickly to come in and run their own program. I am going to go ahead and resign from football so the board can meet on Thursday and approve that so they can start that process very quickly.
“I think that is fair to the community. This is a community that we have dearly loved. I have taken great pleasure and it has been an honor to be the head coach here for 15 years.”
The Sylacauga BOE met Tuesday and accepted Griffith’s resignation as coach effective immediately and his retirement effective June 1. The vote was 3-0. Board members Amy Price and Dr. Rekha Chadalawada were absent. Board members Melissa Garris, Janean Crawford and Dr. Steven Marlowe voted in favor of the action. Griffith was not present at the meeting.
Griffith has spent the past 15 years as the Aggies head coach, compiling a 94-68 record. Griffith’s 98 wins are the second most in school history.
Sylacauga has been a model of winning with Griffith at the helm.
The football program won 74 games over the last decade-- one win shy of the school record. Griffith has led the Aggies to eight straight playoff appearances, and Sylacauga has gone 12 years without a losing season.
The Aggies finished 8-3 in 2019 and made it to the first round of the playoffs.
“You don't have success without good kids and you don't have success without a good administration allowing you to do the things you need to do,” he said. “The biggest thing is you always have to be able to trust the people you work for. Those are the things that made it really special for me the last 13, 14 years. We have been successful because those kids worked hard here. We have been very fortunate ... I have taken the program as far as I can take it. I think it is time for someone else to come in and let them try and see. I wish Sylacauga all the luck in the world.”
Griffith came to Sylacauga after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Thompson. The veteran coach was hired as the Aggies head coach in 2006. Griffith said he was grateful for the support he and his family have received over the last 15 seasons.
“This community was so good to me and my wife when we moved here with our three little kids,” he said. “I was 36 years olds, and all my kids were 8 years old and younger; my son was 3 years olds. They have been raised here in Sylacauga. They are Sylacauga kids. They all have graduated from Sylacauga. Matthew is a junior, and he will be a senior next year.
“The community welcomed us with open arms and has been nothing but very good to us since we have been here, and we are very appreciative of that.”
Football has been a part of Griffith’s life since he was 7. Griffith said he hasn’t ruled out returning to the sideline in the future.
“When you retire, it doesn't mean that you won't coach somewhere else, go out of state or pick up a private school,” he said. “I think it is time for someone else to come in and start their own program. We are leaving after a heck of a season. Our kids went 8-3. They upset the No. 5 team in the state in Center Point. I can't be more proud of this football team and each football team that has been here.”
Griffith was grateful for all of his assistant coaches throughout his tenure at Sylacauga.
“This community has been very fortunate to have the Christian men that they have (had) in charge of their kids for as long as they did on this staff,” Griffith said “I can't think of a better group of men to go on the practice field and (into the) game (with) year in and year. The influence that they have on the kids from Sylacauga, the community has been very fortunate to have those types of men in their lives”
Staff writer Laci Braswell contributed to this story.