Class of 2006
Quite simply put, Whit Griffith did everything at WPI. At one time or another, he was involved in men's and women's programs in all three sports seasons. He was also instrumental in starting three varsity programs for women at the university.
Whit arrived at WPI in 1980 as the swimming and diving coach, a post he held until his retirement in 2002. In 1986, he divided the team into separate men's and women's programs. He amassed 111 wins on the men's side-including six winning seasons in a span of seven years, 1985-1991. He also enjoyed success on the women's side with 62 wins overall, including a 9-win campaign in 1990-91.
"Whit was my first coach at WPI when I transferred in my sophomore year," says former celebrated swimmer and current assistant coach Matt Musiak. "I immediately liked him because of his coaching style. I swam incredibly well that year, breaking records and placing first in all my events. I credit Whit for making that possible."
A look at Whit's first roster in 1980-81 shows one woman and six men. Under his watchful eye, the programs grew to the point where rosters of 20 became the norm and he established swimming and diving as major varsity programs. Now, even after his retirement, the programs continue to flourish.
Whit's ability to build programs went beyond the pool. He started the women's soccer club program and coached it for nine seasons, helping it gain varsity status. He also played an important role in bringing the women's track and field program to a varsity level after a longtime stint as the club coach.
Whit Griffith also left his mark on the baseball program. He was the assistant coach for two seasons before taking over as skipper in 1987, and he guided the Engineers to 80 wins, including a 12-win campaign in 1995.
Proving that his talents were limitless, Whit served as the assistant athletic trainer in the early 1980s. He was also involved in the men's soccer program, as a varsity assistant and junior varsity head coach under the tutelage of legendary coaches Alan King and Malcolm MacPherson.
"Whit was invaluable in the transition from Alan to our new staff," comments MacPherson. "We could not have been successful without his input and efforts. He was one of the hardest working individuals I've ever met. His integrity is second to none."
A member of the Poly Club Executive Committee and the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Whit still helps out at the annual alumni golf tournament. He and his wife, Anne, have three children (Rebecca '91, Graham, and Tucker '95) and two grandchildren.