Jackson’s fre department benefits from having a guy who brought the same amount of toughness, grit, and intelligence to the football field as a member of the Greenville Weston Hornets and later Washington School Generals.
A little over a decade ago, Michael Griffin made a seamless transition as the running back of the run happy Hornets offense to the balanced attack of the Generals.
“I really started to see quite a bit of playing time around my tenth-grade year,” Griffin recalled. “During my freshman year, we had 18 seniors to graduate and we just had to step up.”
Over the next two seasons, Griffin established himself as one of the best backs in the area and developed a reputation for being able to run past defenders with his speed and quickness.
In the spring of his junior year, Griffin transferred to Washington School where he was a finalist for player of the year honors despite having an injury that limited his carries. Somewhere in the process of dealing with injuries and transitioning to a new environment, he became a complete running back.
“I didn’t get to play the full season, but I really enjoyed my time playing at Washington,” he said. “It was a fast-paced offense and I learned not only how to use my speed to run past the defense but also how to run behind my pads and use power to run through defenders.”
Griffin’s combination of power and speed caught the eye of the coaching staff at Mississippi Delta Community College. However, MDCC redshirted Griffin because the school had already signed four other backs. “I never got a chance to play for MDCC,” he recalled. “After that, I signed with Gulf Coast Community College where a went on to play for two years.”
Since his playing days, Griffin has taken skills developed on the gridiron full-bore into his career as a fire fighter. He spent his first five years with the Greenville Fire Department and the last two with the Jackson Fire Department.
“In many ways, the physical and mental parts of being a fire fighter is similar to being a football player,” Griffin explained. “There is a certain amount of dedication you need to commit to the early mornings and kicking in doors and carrying people to safety. I also still try to hit the gym and workout just as hard as a I did when I was playing.”
Griffin, the father of a four-year-old daughter, said that he would like to impress upon any young athlete the importance of education. At the time of the interview, he had just completed an EMT training course.
“Your education as a fire fighter never stops,” he said.
Griffin also credited his close relationship with his mother, Sharon and his sister, Erica as very critical to his upbringing.