November 30, 2020

New coaches feel at home at Webster

Softball coach Katie Griffith and tennis coach John Black have both been at Webster for under five years. However, both coaches plan to stay for the foreseeable future. 

The majority of coaches at Webster University have been at this school for over a decade, yet new additions Katie Griffith and John Black felt right at home in their first seasons.

Black is entering his second season at Webster and Griffith is entering her third season. They both plan to keep the trend going and remain a coach at Webster for a foreseeable future.

“We all cheer each other on. The coaches get along very well and our players get along very well too. This helps people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and I think that is why people stick around,” Griffith said.

Before coming to Webster, Griffith worked for the Gateway Grizzlies, an independent baseball team at the GCS Credit Union Ballpark. Webster baseball has their home games at this complex, so meeting the coaches was inevitable for Griffith. When the head coach job for the softball team opened, Griffith applied for it.

Coach John Black watches his players at Grand Valley State University from behind a fence. Black is one of
two new coaches at Webster. Black chose Webster due to “a great campus, a great area and great people.” Contributed photo by Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Media Relations.

“Before coming in for the job interview, I did my research. I found out there were many veterans in the athletic department and the job became more appealing to me. It showed me that people really want to be here, and this is probably somewhere I will want to be for a long time,” Griffith said.

After 18 years as the tennis coach at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, Black decided to move to Webster Groves and coach the tennis team.

“I was primarily looking for D1 and D2 schools, but when I went out and looked at Webster, I ended up really liking it. They have a great campus, a great area and great people working in the athletic department,” Black said.

During Black’s first season, he only coached for four weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“In the short time I was there, it really felt like everyone got along great and it felt like a family where coaches are helping out coaches, no matter how long you had been at Webster,” Black said.

Griffith hopes to one day retire from Webster University and pass along her legacy she has started. In her first season, the softball team’s cumulative GPA went from 2.8 to a 3.8 in a year and their roster size increased by 50%.

“I want the coach that comes after me to know that they are coming to a great place with wonderful people. When you are on campus, you have a feeling that everyone wants to get better every day and you do not get this same feeling at every workplace,” Griffith said.

 

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