PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The head coach of one of Plymouth State College's most successful athletic programs has resigned, according to athletic director Steve Bamford.
Men's soccer coach Shawn Griffin, who guided the Panthers to three NCAA and three ECAC Tournament appearances and five Little East Conference championships in eight years as a part-time head coach, will leave at the end of the school year to accept the full-time position of head men's soccer coach at Hobart College in Geneva, NY.
The departure leaves both Griffin and Plymouth State officials with mixed feelings.
"This is a professional move, and a move that is best for me and my family," said Griffin, a 1988 PSC graduate and former four-year Panther player as well as graduate assistant coach and head coach. "It's an incredible opportunity for me. It was a very difficult decision for me, the most difficult I've ever had to make, because we've had a great ride together here; some great wins, some great stories, and most of all, great people. But I've had a goal to become a full-time college soccer coach, and this is a great opportunity for me to achieve that."
A native of Raymond, N.H., Griffin played at PSC from 1983-86, when the team made three NCAA post-season appearances and won an ECAC Tournament title. He took over as head coach in 1992, following the legendary coach Gerd Lutter (23 years, 12 NCAA Tournaments, 3 ECAC Tournaments).
After a 6-8-2 record in his first season, Griffin took the 1993 and 1994 teams to the ECAC Tournament, and then guided the '95, '97 and '98 squads to the NCAA Tournament. PSC hosted the NCAA New England Regional in '98 finishing in the final Division III Top 20 for the second straight year. After leading the 1999 team to a 12-9 record and the ECAC Tourney, Griffin completes his eight years at PSC with a 92-45-9 record (.661), and four LEC Coach of the Year awards.
"We have very mixed feelings about Shawn leaving PSC to accept the Hobart position," said Bamford. "Happiness for Shawn in gaining the opportunity to coach at the college level in a full-time position but sadness in that he is leaving after doing a terrific job in re-establishing our men's soccer program as one of the top programs in the country. I will miss the friendship and outstanding coach-AD relationship we had together."
Bamford indicated a national search would be conducted. He expects a strong applicant pool, with hopes of naming a new coach by mid-May.
"We all realize that sooner or later, outstanding coaches like Shawn are lured by the attractive, full-time offers of other schools," said Bamford. "We wish Shawn the very best, and we'll expect to see the Hobart's men's soccer program in a position of national prominence in the near future."
Shawn and his wife Carol have two children, Olivia, 4, and Conner, 2.
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