Chad and Sherry Griffin came to Calvary Day School 19 years ago, almost immediately after they were married.
The couple has had a huge influence in the Calvary sports community and in Savannah in the two decades since. Chad has coached the boys and girls soccer teams for 18 seasons, and served as the athletic director for 14 years, while Sherry coached the softball team for 16 years.
The Griffins recently announced they have made the tough decision to leave the school they love, as they will be moving to the Atlanta area with their son and daughter at the end of the school year to take jobs at Hebron Christian.
Chad Griffin, 45, said an opportunity opened up for Sherry, who is the director of student life at Calvary, to become the first person in that job at Hebron Christian.
Dr. James Taylor, who took over the headmaster job at Hebron Christian a few years ago, had a long stint at Calvary Day in the same position. Someone at Hebron suggested Sherry for the new position, and he was reluctant at first because he didn’t want to take talent away from his former school. Taylor stayed out of the initial interview process due to what he felt was a conflict of interest, but Sherry impressed in her interview and was quickly offered the job.
“It’s super exciting for Sherry, she’s going to get to start something that they’ve never had at Hebron,” Chad said. “When we first were married, Sherry supported me when we had to move three times in 18 months as we grew as a young couple. So it was time to support her.”
Sherry Griffin said she can’t wait to get started with the new job at Hebron, but said she is also sad to leave Calvary Day, where the family has so many friends.
“We’re going to miss those relationships, but sometimes God works in mysterious ways,” said Sherry Griffin, who led the Cavs to the playoffs in 15 of her 16 years at the helm, posting a record of 257-185. “He opened up doors for us, and there were no obstacles. All the signs were he led us made it hard to say no. But it will be hard to say goodbye to Calvary.”
After Sherry landed the job, Chad was hired as an assistant athletic director for athletic development. His duties will include mentoring coaches, fundraising, as well as coaching the boys soccer team. He will also teach eighth-grade history at the school, and have a chance to teach his son, Hayes, 13, next year.
Hayes is a standout in lacrosse, baseball and as a quarterback in football, while his sister Addison, 12, stars in volleyball, and plays basketball and softball.
Chad said leaving Calvary was a tough decision.
“Our kids were born here, and we were just married a week when we got our jobs here. Calvary and Savannah are always going to be our home,” Chad said.
Chad’s best friend from grade school through college lives in Atlanta, and his son also plays lacrosse. The friends talked for an hour this week, and hope to get the boys on the same club lacrosse team.
Griffin has won more than 200 games as a soccer coach, leading the Cavaliers girls to their first Final Four appearance in 2018. He’s been named the region athletic director of the year multiple times. In his run as athletic director, the Cavaliers volleyball team won three state titles, and the football team had a state runner-up finish in 2013.
This year he took on another role — coaching the girls flag football team in the first year of GHSA competition. The Cavaliers won the Class 1-5A state crown, with a corps of players from other sports whom Griffin convinced to give the sport a try.
Emma Crosby is a star soccer player who became a standout in flag football. She said Griffin has been a coach who teaches his athletes about more than sports.
“Playing for coach Griffin is awesome. He is always so uplifting and creates a great atmosphere,” Crosby said. “He never really gets angry. He’s a constructive criticism kind of guy who is always going to build up his players.
“You always see Coach around campus checking up on our grades. He and Miss Sherry care about us as people. We’re definitely going to miss them, and the school will miss them, too.”
Griffin said the hardest part will be leaving the colleagues and students he and his family have come to love.
“We’ve developed these relationships for 19 years, with generations of families at Calvary,” Chad said. “We’re blessed to feel that we have impacted lives, but when you look back you realize the impact these people have had on you as a coach and a human being. Wins and losses are part of coaching, but they’ll never replace the relationships we have built at Calvary Day.”
Dennis Knight covers sports for the Savannah Morning News. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN