Posted on April 20, 2017.
Star Staff Reports
Otis F. Griffin was born in Charleston, to Otis M. and Edna Faulk Griffin. Soon thereafter, they moved to Rosemark, where he attended grammar school. The friends he made at Rosemark remain his close friends today.
After Rosemark, he attended Bolton High School, where he was an outstanding basketball player, as evidenced by him being named team captain his senior year.
He was voted MVP his senior year on the Knights of Columbus All-Tournament Team, while also being the tournament’s Individual High Scorer and setting the one-game scoring record. He made the All-County and All-State Teams his senior year, averaging 24.1 points per game, propelling him to a scholarship to Union University.
At Union, his exploits on the hardwood continued. By the end of his collegiate career, he was the owner of 4 individual school records.
Most points scored in a single season (573)
Most rebounds in a single season (370)
Most rebounds in a single game (24)
Most free throws in a single season (193)
Griffin scored 1,605 points during his four seasons at Union for an overall average of 15.1 points a game. He was captain of the Freshman Club and co-captain of the varsity squad his senior year. During his senior year, he shot 49.4 percent from the field and 77.6 percent from the free throw line.
He received certificates for Volunteer State Athletic Conference(VSAC) All-Tournament for his Junior and Senior years, as well as a certificate for All-Conference as a senior. He was also named to the “Who’s Who” in the VSAC in 1961 and 1962.
He was presented with a trophy for All-Tournament in the Hatter Invitational in Deland, Florida, and a medal for the NCAA tournament with Union in Evansville during his senior year.
He is most proud of receiving the Fred DeLay Memorial Award in 1962. This award, named after the Hall of Fame coach from Union University, is for a senior who is an outstanding athlete, a person of high academic standing, unquestionable loyalty, and good character. Otis excelled in the classroom, as well, receiving a certificate from Dean F.E. Wright for GPA in his field.
After graduation, Griffin taught at a school in Arkansas and coached basketball for one year. It was at this time he had the opportunity to go to work for Goodyear Tire in Akron, Ohio.
During his 15-month training period, he played basketball for the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots in the National Industrial Basketball League. After squadron training was completed, he was offered a job in management which he accepted, remaining in Akron for 5 more years. Then, he transferred to back to Tennessee for the start-up of the tire plant in Union City.
Griffin had two sons, Mike and Mark. Mike passed away at the age of 37 from diabetes. Mark lives in Nashville and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he played basketball before going on to play professionally in Austria for 4 years.
In Union City, while his sons were growing up, he coached Pee-Wee basketball and managed their little league baseball team. Griffin went to UT Martin and received his Master’s Degree in 1993 while continuing to work at Goodyear. He retired from Goodyear Tire after 30 years there.
He has a newspaper column depicting the way he grew up in the little country town of Rosemark, which has been published in five weekly papers including The Millington Star over the past 19 years. Four years ago, a book of his musings was published under the same name as his column: Southern Raisin’. This humble undertaking illustrates the often entertaining lives of good ol’ country folks over the past seven decades.
Griffin returned to his roots in 2000. He currently lives in Millington, near a small community known as Shake Rag, only a few miles from his beloved Rosemark.
He is a member of the Al Chymia Shrine and the Transportation Club, which drives children that have been burned and/or crippled to the various Children’s Hospitals at no cost to the child or family.
He’s also a member of the Public Relations Board at the Shrine Temple, as well as the President of The Musketeers as a member of the Board of Control at the Shrine School for Handicapped Children, which is the only school in the world performing such a service.
He has belonged to the Masonic Lodge for 53 years, whose stated mission is to serve the Community and improve Character. He’s also a member of the Scottish Rite, which helps children with speech and hearing problems.
Received the Paul Harris Award in The Millington Rotary Club. Last year, he was presented with the Historic Preservation Award from the Historic Archives and Environs in recognition for preserving cultural heritage and other achievements for Rosemark.
Griffin belongs to First Baptist Church in Covington, where the pastor, Chuck Williams, is also a graduate of Union University. He is married to Glenda Thomas Griffin, who also attended Union University.