Griffin inducted into Missouri coaches Hall of Fame

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

A former Ottawa High School track and cross country standout received a top honor from the state of Missouri.

Jesse Griffin, a 1988 OHS grad, was inducted into the MTCCCA Hall of Fame in Columbia, Mo. Griffin has spent the past 13 years coaching at Lee's Summit North Nigh School, where he has coached 11 state championship teams and 17 top-4 podium finishes.


Griffin was a two-time all-state performer in track for the Cyclones.

Griffin spent his first year teaching at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, and then the past 24 years in the Kansas City, Mo., area at Raytown South, Lee's Summit North and Lee's Summit West.

Griffin coached high school track & field and cross-country athletes to a total of 239 state medals including 42 state champions. He also coached 18 athletes to 26 All-American honors and in 2019 the Lee's Summit West girls brought home the national championship in the distance medley relay at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships in Greensboro, N.C.

In his career, Griffin has had teams win 30 different relays at Kansas Relays and has had seven teams win the overall relay team title as well. Lee's Summit West girls hold the Missouri large class record for consecutive team titles in cross country with five and track and field with four in a row. 

In 2017, Lee's Summit West girls set the Missouri all-time state record for both genders and all classes for most points in the state track meet with 107 points. In 2017, Griffin was named National High School Girls Coach of the year by the United States Track & Cross-Country Coaches Association and followed that up with the 2018 National High School Coaches Association Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.

"I am honored and humbled to be inducted in the 2020 MTCCCA Hall of Fame,” Griffin said. “There is not a coach in the world that can be successful without having athletes that are talented, willing to work and trust their coach. I have been very fortunate to have had athletes that have all three of those qualities and want to thank all of them. 

“I have always believed being surrounded with excellent assistant coaches and having a supportive administration is paramount to any sustained success of any program and want to thank all of them as well. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the great teachers and coaches I had while a student at Ottawa High School and personally thank Don and Chris Kornhaus for always providing an environment that excellence was the expectation. I can tell you that coaching always has and always will be about the relationships that are built and watching my athletes succeed beyond the confines of the athletic field. I am hopeful I will be able to continue coaching and doing what I love for many years to come."