Boys Indoor Track And Field Coach Of The Year: Griner Preaches Patience At Century

Boys Indoor Track And Field Coach Of The Year: Griner Preaches Patience At Century
Tony Griner, Century coach

When he puts on his whistle, Tony Griner doesn't just pull from his experiences as a track and field coach.

He's done a little bit of everything.


Griner took over the program for the Knights eight years ago after spending time as the school's defensive coordinator on the football field. He's coached plenty of sports over the course of his life to know that there isn't any just one correct way to lead.

The key, he said, is to never stop trying to get better at it. And that's what he's trying to teach those on his team as well.

"I learn from what I watch, and what I see, and then I teach it," said Griner, the Times boys indoor track and field Coach of the Year. "Our coaches do the same thing."

The Knights came into the indoor season as defending county champions on the boys and girls side. At the same time, the boys were without a many of the team's major point-getters from last year.

Taking a lesson from his old football days, Griner said he often brings the "fire and brimstone" when addressing his team. It's his way of pumping them up before practices and meets.

Alex Stefanick, who finished third in the county in hurdles behind teammate, and winner, Noah Wolcott, said those speeches often can be the difference for the team.

"It's every single day," the junior said. "Sometimes you can see the emotion in his eyes and his face that he's as excited as we are."

Griner is technically in charge of the entire track program at Century. While his girls team also defended its title this season, it was the championship on the boys side that was especially impressive.

The Knights only had two individual wins: Nick Neral (pole vault) and Wolcott. The team also claimed the 4x200-meter relay title. It was the consistency, with multiple athletes near the top in most of the events, however, that gave the Knights a leg up on the rest of the county. Just because the team didn't have a handful of standouts didn't mean Griner's athletes weren't going to keep trying to improve anyway.

It's the same way with the coach, and his quest to get better at leading the pack.

"I'm still learning how to be a good coach," he said. I'm still learning how to teach this sport."

Reach Matt Owings at 410-857-7893 or