Name Johnny Griffith
|1950–1954 South Georgia|
Role American football player
1956–1960 Georgia (assistant)
|Born May 27, 1924
Crawfordville, Georgia (1924-05-27) |
1949 South Georgia (assistant)
Died April 28, 2003, Duluth, Georgia, United States
Education South Georgia State College, University of Georgia
Johnny Griffith (May 27, 1924 – April 28, 2003) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at South Georgia College (1950–1954) and the University of Georgia (1961–1963).
Early life and playing career
Griffith was born in Crawfordville, Georgia, but played high school football at Boy’s High in Atlanta, Georgia. He lettered at the University of Georgia in 1946 and was on the Bulldogs' national championship team. He also played junior college football at South Georgia College. Griffith graduated from Georgia in 1950.
Griffith's coaching career began at the junior college level at South Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia. He was an assistant there in 1949 before becoming the head coach in 1950. In four years as the head football coach at South Georgia College, Griffith compiled a 32–6 record and took his team to four bowl appearances.
Griffith's coaching career with the Georgia Bulldogs began in 1956, when he became an assistant under head coach Wally Butts. He replaced Butts as head coach in 1961. Except for an Southeastern Conference championship in 1959, the Georgia Bulldogs struggled in the last few years under Butts. Things did not get any better under Griffith and he was only able to compile a 10–16–4 record during his three-year term as head coach. While there were few successes during this time as head coach, he did have two big victories, a 30–21 upset win over Auburn in 1962 and a 31–14 win over heavily favored Miami in 1963. Griffith was replaced after the 1963 season by Vince Dooley.
While coaching at Georgia, Griffith became embroiled in the controversy created when the Saturday Evening Post ran an article alleging that Wally Butts and Bear Bryant had conspired to fix games. The focus of the Post story was Georgia's 35–0 loss to Alabama and Griffith was quoted in the article as "bitterly" saying, "I never had a chance, did I" after the game. Butts sued the Post and Butts, Griffith and Bear Bryant all testified. Griffith denied that he made the statement attributed to him and otherwise called the facts of the Post story into question. Butts and Bryant also vehemently denied the truth of the story. Butts eventually won the case.
After Georgia, Griffith did some assistant coaching at Georgia Tech under Bobby Dodd, coaching quarterback Kim King, among others. He also became a key figure in the development of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Hall in 1997 as a contributor. Griffith died on April 28, 2003, in Duluth, Georgia.