The early years of Ricky Griffin’s career as head baseball coach at Argyle (Texas) High weren’t exactly filled with trophies and accolades.
From the start, he aimed at the long-term goal: developing a program for the future.
In recent years, that vision has become a reality. The Eagles won the 4A state championship in 2015 and added an undefeated title in 2018.
Then in 2019 they claimed their third state championship on his watch and were named the Baseball America High School Team of the Year.
“We started getting good players, we continued to get them and they continued to develop,” Griffin said. “They did a ton of work on their own . . . to be able to get their talent to where it needed to be, and now we seem to have kids committed to do that every year.”
Argyle finished this season with a 40-1-1 record and won its last 28 games, but this season has been rewarding in many ways.
Griffin joined the Argyle coaching staff in 2007, when his son Storm was a freshman pitcher on the team. This year, Griffin won his first state championship with Storm by his side on the coaching staff.
“I’m obviously in the fourth quarter of my career,” Griffin said, “and to be able to spend the last part of it here with my son coaching next to me means a lot.”
Argyle has been one of the most dominant high school teams in the country since 2015. However, the 2019 season will always hold a special place in Griffin’s heart, thanks to the seniors on the team who have proven their resilience.
“Their sophomore year, we got beat in either the regional quarterfinals or semifinals,” Griffin said. “They got together on their own, away from me, and made a commitment to each other that they weren’t going to settle for finishing the season before they got to play in the state tournament.”
“The next two years, that’s what they did. They took us to and won two state championships.”
Griffin said this year’s title was more rewarding because of the expectations they faced.
“We played with a target on our back all year long,” Griffin said.
Argyle has 10 players who are either committed to or signed with Division I colleges. The Eagles have been led by seniors Dillon Carter, an outfielder committed to Texas Tech, and second baseman Brenden Dixon, a Texas commit.
Most of the seniors on this year’s Argyle team have been with Griffin for all four years. He credits the upperclassmen for being leaders who bring the group together based on a shared desire to win.
“They’re such a tight group,” Griffin said. “They’re all close friends and they’re together off the field.”
All of the joy of the 2019 season comes at a price for Griffin. He now has to say goodbye to the players who worked so hard to be successful.
“It was awesome to finish the way we did, but also bittersweet because I’m going to really miss them, both as kids and as players,” Griffin said.
“The impact that they’ve had on our program, you know, I can’t say enough.”