Three years ago, Dave Griffith settled for being an assistant, and his loyalty has been rewarded. Griffith was named varsity girls basketball coach at Annapolis High yesterday.
Griffith succeeds Teresa Ross, who led the Panthers from the bottom to the playoffs. Ross got married after last season and moved to Kansas. Before she left, Ross endorsed Griffith.
"There's no question that we hired Dave to provide continuity in the program," said Annapolis athletic director Fred Stauffer. "Dave had a lot of input with Teresa. She accepted a lot of his ideas, and they worked well together. And with all the seniors we have back, we didn't want to upset the apple cart."
Stauffer said there was no concern about Griffith's never having been a head coach.
"It's not like he has had no coaching experience," Stauffer said.
Griffith, a former assistant football coach at Glen Burnie, was also an assistant girls basketball coach to John Rentch at Annapolis from 1983 to 1985.
When Daryl Watson's contract was not renewed in 1990, Griffith applied for the vacant Annapolis job, but Ross landed the position and asked Griffith to be her assistant.
"I had a lot of respect for Teresa, and we will continue to do things pretty much along the same lines as she did," Griffith said. "There's not a whole lot to change, and continuity is important because we return the entire team and should give the powerhouses a fit."
Annapolis was 19-5 and the 4A Region IV runner-up to eventual state champion Old Mill last year, and Griffith was an integral part of a rather speedy rise to prominence.
The Panthers were 5-17 in Ross' first year after going 3-18 in Watson's final year. Ross and Griffith then took their young team to a 14-10 record and the Region IV semifinals in their second year.
Leading the team are All-County first-team selection Shannon Henderson (18.8 points and 12.2 rebounds as a junior) and second-team pick Cristi Samaras.
"I'm excited, and we've even scheduled a scrimmage with [Baltimore power] Western," said Griffith, whose varsity assistant will be Gloria Day, a veteran dance teacher and Annapolis' softball coach.
Phil Popielski will coach the JV. He is a former assistant at Northern (Calvert) who teaches at Bates Middle School.
Stauffer also announced that Annapolis and Louisiana State graduate Bruce Reid, who is training for the 1996 Olympics decathlon, has been named indoor track and field coach.
Reid succeeds Dennie DeWitt and will be assisted by former Old Mill and Towson State distance runner Brian Funk.