HS North Softball Honors Late Middletown Alumuni & Umpire Jimmy Griffin


MTPS Newsletter

Original Story Via: MTPS Pride Newsletter #110 (May 13, 2022)

Earlier this season, the High School North Softball program celebrated the life of Jimmy Griffin and his contributions to the local softball community as a longtime Shore Conference umpire by hosting the inaugural Jimmy Griffin Classic.  The event featured a full day of games from a cross section of top softball programs in the Monmouth and Ocean County area.

All of the proceeds from the event, including admission and tournament fees, will be used to create the Jimmy Griffin Scholarship, which will support graduating softball players who demonstrate how they have maintained a positive outlook on life while overcoming adversity.

The scholarship criteria is a recognition of the qualities exhibited by Griffin, a former Middletown resident who was a Middletown High School Hall of Fame athlete, before serving in the Middletown Township Public School District as a physical education teacher. Griffin as inducted during the 2020 Middletown High School North Hall of Fame Ceremony this past March and has deep roots in the Middletown community.

The exploits of Jim Griffin are still legendary more than five decades after he graduated from Middletown Township High School. Griffin lettered 9 times (3 each) in football, basketball & baseball. In football, Jim played for Coach Dick Kleva’s Lions which finished the season ranked 4th in the state with an undefeated record in 1964.

Jim led the potent T-Formation offense as a halfback and was also an intimidating defensive back leading the team in tackles and interceptions earning him. All County Honors.

In basketball, Griffin he was an aggressive ball handler and rebounder. During the 1964-65 season, he helped the Lions finish 17-5 to become the best basketball team since the 1948-49 season.In baseball, Griffin became the Lions starter at first base and pitcher during his sophomore season. Jim played on the 1963 team that won the Division and Group IV NJ State Title.

In his senior year, he led the Lions to a 17-3 mark and earned All County and All Shore recognition.After graduation, Jim led Yankton College (South Dakota) to the NAIA College World Series in 1969 where he pitched and played first base. He earned a BA in Physical Education and a teaching certificate. His roommate was the well known Lyle Alzado, who played for the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders in the NFL.

Jim served as a police officer in Middletown for many years, while also becoming a well respected umpire for baseball and softball in the Shore area. Jim was also the pitching coach when Middletown North won the Shore Conference Tournament in 1986.