Yellow Jackets and Griffin part ways (Part 1)

Wayne Griffin was fired as coach from Carver High School.

Yellow Jackets and Griffin part ways (Part 1)
November 25
13:35 2022

Carver High School has let go of head football coach Wayne Griffin after two and a half years on the job. He was relieved of his duties as the head wrestling coach as well.

Griffin was hired in February 2020 and went 9-19 overall during his tenure as the head football coach. This season Griffin led the Yellow Jackets to a 3-8 record that ended with a 49-6 loss to North Rowan in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 1-A playoffs.

The Chronicle spoke with Griffin following his firing to get his side of the story. The Chronicle reached out to Carver High School as well, however, they declined to speak and forwarded us to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Brent Campbell. Campbell stated that it is county policy that they do not comment on specifics about when an employee is terminated.  

This is Griffin’s account of what led to his termination as head football coach of Carver High School.

Question: When did you learn that you would be terminated as head coach of the football team?

Answer: I officially heard the news Monday [Nov. 7, 2022] at 3:15. I got called out of a class that I was teaching, to come up to the office. It was the principal of athletics and my AD (athletics director). It was a meeting that was led by the principal that’s over athletics.

Question: Did you have any idea heading into this meeting that you would be terminated?

Answer: Man, actually when I start connecting the dots, I had a gut feeling that this would be my last year. I didn’t want to realize it, because I love doing what I do. I love making a difference in kids’ lives.

This thing got started maybe like back in August. We had just got a new athletic trainer, brand new and doesn’t know anything about Carver. His first day on the job, he pulled me to the side and he was like “What’s going on with you and the assistant AD?”  I was like “What do you mean?”  He said, “as she was showing me around, she told me don’t worry about Coach Griffin, because this will be his last year anyway.”

Then a series of events from the inside, as I have time to sit back and reflect now, I probably should have seen this coming. Forsyth County Schools has an academic support program. We call it the 2.0 program, to where kids gotta get three hours of tutoring every week. Let’s say for this week, if they got three hours of tutoring this week, they’d be eligible for the following week’s contest. I would not get my eligibility reports from her until Thursday and it was said we would get it on Monday. I want to say out of 10 weeks, we got it on Monday, maybe once or twice at the most.  

Question: When the meeting concluded, what were your feelings, knowing you wouldn’t be coaching these young men that you have been with for the last few years?

Answer: Before I go into that, let me pull up this text message that was sent to me from the athletic principal. The message said, “Due to the sensitive nature of the conversation we just had, I am asking you that you do not share this conversation with any of the parents, community or students, until we as a leadership team are ready to make a public announcement or discussion regarding this matter.”

So, to me they didn’t necessarily have a plan. You can’t tell me not to share information with kids after you have just fired me and let me go and now you want me to help you out. I was hurt. This past off-season was my first off-season that I have had since I became the head coach. I was hurt for the kids that I got to come over to Carver. It’s kids at Carver that wouldn’t be at Carver, if it had not been for the relationships I had built with their parents and them, outside of Carver.  

Question: What do you think led to the riff between you and the assistant principal over athletics?

Answer: This summer, back in either June or July, there was a meeting. I had already been interviewing coaches, so during this meeting, I was told about who was going to be on my staff and they were trying to put folks on my staff. Anybody that knows me, knows that that didn’t go over well too kindly. I adamantly denied that and said that I wasn’t going to do it, because if I am going to be responsible for my coaches’ actions and interactions with my student- athletes, I need to have a say with the men that are leading this program.

It’s a three-hour meeting and it’s back and forth on both sides and I just told them “no it’s not happening.” Honestly, the assistant AD, ever since I got to Carver, she wanted her husband to be on my staff. I have no problem putting anybody on my staff, but you are going to send me a resume and we are going to sit down and see if it’s a good fit. Not just a good fit for the kids, it has to be a good fit for me. I gotta feel comfortable with you being around me and I have to be able to trust you. She wanted her husband on staff and I wouldn’t put him on staff.

Then the assistant principal brought up a name and the name just happened to be her son, about who I am going to put on my wrestling staff. Not only are they trying to tell me who to put on my football staff, they are trying to tell me who to put on my wrestling staff and that didn’t go over too well. I actually fought that issue tooth and nail and got the men I wanted to lead this football program.

Question: Do you think if you would have gone along with those coaching hires, you would still be the coach of the football and wrestling teams?

Answer: I think it played a part. There was also another incident that happened during the year and I was against it. During the middle of the season, they tried to tell me who was going to play. They made a deal, under the table, with a parent that their child would play that week’s contest for at least a half. When I got the news from my AD that this decision was being made, it wasn’t pretty. I was ready to go up and resign the moment I got the news that I better play this kid. It was such a hostile way that they did this to where I felt like I was being bullied.

We didn’t meet when I was told that I had to play this kid for at least a half. This wasn’t a meeting that took place in a conference room with the nice chairs. We were in the dungeon where there was nobody else around and my team was out there practicing. My principal and the principal over athletics were very adamant that this was going to happen. They told me that I better not tell anybody, I better be able to sell it.  I’m telling them no and that I’d much rather resign right now than to do this, because what you’re asking me to do is sacrifice my team chemistry.  Everything I do is for the kids’ best interest. Making that move right there was not for the kids’ best interest. I am not in the habit of making deals with kid’s parents over playing time. It should be earned, and it should be left up to the coaches. I played the kid for a half. At the start of the second half, we were still 0-0 and I put our normal starter back in the game. I carried out their wishes and I’m still gone. 

When it comes to the riff between me and the athletic assistant principal, we are getting ready to play McMichael. We are 65 minutes away from kickoff and kids are getting in their zone to do what they have to do to win a football game. Here comes in the locker room the principal and the athletic principal. The athletic principal is doing the talking and he was threatening to forfeit the football game that night because of something that happened in the bus lot. We may have had two kids in the bus lot after school. I don’t know what happened because we were serving the pregame meal. It was not like it was an altercation or something like that, but for him to come in and threaten these guys 65 minutes before kickoff is ridiculous. I had kids in there crying because all they want to do is play the game they love. Now our focus as a staff had to shift from preparing for the game to have to put on our therapist hat to get these kids to refocus.

I got an email yesterday and they are trying to shut my voice up. They don’t want me to have any relationship with these kids. To me, the common ground between myself and administration should be these kids. So why would you not want me to have any relationship with these kids?  I still got kids I am trying to get into college. I am getting messages from colleges every day about my prospects, but you don’t want me to have any contact with these kids or their parents?  I also got an email that said I couldn’t post any of my student-athletes on the social media pages. I have never seen that whatsoever.  

This is Part 1 of the interview with Coach Griffin. Look for Part 2 in next week’s Chronicle.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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