Les Griffin was one of the early pioneer coaches in Texas. Beginning in the 1930’s and continuing for 44 years, he laid out the mats, placed the apparatus, and waited for the young people to come and learn some gym stuff, and learn they did.
Coaching: During Les Griffin’s 44 years at the Dallas Athletic Club, he produced many of the Texas gymnastics coaches of today. He coached three international champions, and his tumblers won 12 National Championships. Pan American Games: Griffin coached the U.S. Women’s Pan Am Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil, (1963). His women won Gold-Team with Doris Fuchs winning the AA, UB, & BB; Dale McClements winning Gold-V, & Avis Tieber winning FX-a clean sweep of the gold medals. Silver medalists were Dale McClements & Avis Tieber [T]-AA; Dale McClements-UB; & Avis Tieber-V. Bronze medalists were Kathleen Corrigan-V & FX. Griffin had a special talent for coaching tumbling whether it was on the mats or on the big square floor. Numerous local and national tumbling champions, men and women, owe their time on the winner’s podium to his expertise. Honors: The first Honor Coach Certificate was presented by the National Association of Collegiate Coaches (Men) known today as the Collegiate Gymnastics Association. “This award is made posthumously to a deceased member of the coaching profession who was either: too young to qualify for the twenty-five years or more of service to the sport, or had not been nominated prior to his death for the Honor Coach Award.” The award reads as follows: “In recognition of his service in coaching and developing gymnastics in the United States, (Lester Griffin) has gained the respect of his colleagues in the gymnastic world by his inspiring example and accomplishments. The Chairman of the Awards Committee will mail this award to the widow or family of the individual honored. Les Griffin was the 1977 recipient of this award.”
Sources: Basic data courtesy of Jerry Wright, author of Who’s Who in Gymnastics, 2005, , , & . Review and editing courtesy of A. Bruce Frederick. Introduction and commentary by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.