In just his third season at the helm of the Mount Si boys basketball team, Jason Griffith has the Wildcats poised to make a run at the 4A state championship.
Riding an 18-game winning streak, Griffith is busy preparing his team for a quarterfinal matchup Thursday at the Tacoma Dome vs. the winner of the Puyallup-Jackson game. We recently caught up with Griffith and asked him seven questions.
Why did you get into coaching?
Since I was in high school, I thought my calling was to work and positively impact young men. Thus, growing up in a household of teachers and coaches, I was drawn to the idea of coaching and teaching. After I graduated college in 1996, I got into coaching under my former high school coach, Ron Bollinger. My passion for mentoring and guiding young men, on and off the court, started developing and became a big part of my identity.
What are your coaching aspirations?
My coaching aspirations are to help lead the Mount Si program and community to one of the best programs in the state, both on and off the court.
Who is your coaching mentor?
I have been blessed to be impacted by quality men and coaches. Ron Bollinger, Rich Belcher, Steve Helm, Chris O’Connor, Brian Dailey and Bruce Brown have all helped shape who I am as a father, husband and coach.
Who is your best coaching resource?
The aforementioned men have always been there for me. If I need to bounce ideas off of them, I know I can trust they have the best interest for the team. Other resources include the basketball community in general. Being around the game for as long as I have, I am fortunate to know phenomenal college coaches, individual trainers, other coaches, etc. Tony and Devin Willis, whom I have known for 25+ years, have always been a big part of my programs and I am very appreciative of their loyalty and commitment.
Best coach you’ve matched Xs and Os with?
The best games I have had over the years have been with Ed Haskins, Mark Folsom, and Steve Johnson. Our teams have competed against each other on the highest stage and have played in some of the best games I have been a part of.
Who is the best player you’ve coached?
The best player I have coached was Curtis Borchardt. I was a young coach at the time and only had one season to get to know him but I have never been around a player that could dominate a game on both ends of the floor like he could.
Who is the best player you’ve seen at the high school level in Washington?
Michael Porter Jr. is the best player I have seen in Washington, but he didn’t grow up here, so I don’t really consider him a Washington guy. I remember coaching against Brandon Roy when he was young and to see him develop into the player he became in high school and beyond, thus getting my vote.
Hometown: Bellevue, Washington
High School: Sammamish High School, Class of 1992
Playing career: All-KingCo guard in 1992 at Sammamish. Played from 1992-1994 for Coach Ernie Woods at Bellevue College. Team finished 32-1 in 1992-93 and won the NWAC Championship. Finished 22-7 the next season.
College: Washington State, Class of 1996
Coaching career: 1996-97 to present. Was the head coach Issaquah HS for six years before being hired at Mount Si in 2016.