John Griffen receives life membership of the South Adelaide Football Club

PROUD PANTHER: John Griffen (centre) is presented with his life membership by SAFC's Warren Ploenges and CEO Neill Sharpe.
PROUD PANTHER: John Griffen (centre) is presented with his life membership by SAFC's Warren Ploenges and CEO Neill Sharpe.

John Griffen has given everything to the great game of football. Beneath the veneer of the man known as Griff, is one of the most intelligent and passionate football brains in the country.

Griff has worked tirelessly for not just the Great Southern Football League (GSFL), over the past 25 years, the Amateur League before that, but the one constant which has been in his life since the early 1970s, the South Adelaide Football Club (SAFC).

Griff played for the club from 1971, has been an assistant coach to John Reid and Greg Anderson and is currently the self proclaimed Ambassador of the South Adelaide Football Club in the GSFL.

His talent identification of youngsters to follow the pathway to South is legendary and his involvement and love for the club reaped a major reward when Football Development Manager of the SAFC Warren Ploenges and CEO Neill Sharpe visited Victor Harbor to present Griff with Life Membership of the club.

Griff was lost for words and felt both honoured and humbled to receive the Life Membership of a club he has served for nearly 50 years.

"It all started for me when I went from soccer to football and I went out to South. I vividly remember kicking stab passes on Adelaide Oval with the great Jimmy Deane and sharing a football oval with Peter Darley and David Darcy," Griff said.

"The most important thing now is we have changed to way kids think about South. They know it is the pathway and are proud to wear the colours of the Panthers."

SAFC CEO Neill Sharpe said Griff has been a great advocate for the South Adelaide Football Club.

"He's passionate about the Panthers and about providing young footballers with the opportunity to be the best they can be. The likes of Heaslip, McKinnon, Sampson, Kreuger, Tarca and hundreds of other young GSFL footballers have benefitted from his energy and commitment to make them better," Sharpe said.

"He has been integral in helping form the GSFL Academy and the football program at Victor Harbor High School in recent years. His involvement at South Adelaide dates back to the early 70s as a player, the 80's and 90s as a coach and today as Ambassador and mentor to many. He is very deserving of becoming a Life Member of the South Adelaide Football Club."

Warren Ploenges said "Griff's" energy and enthusiasm for coaching has been outstanding. Thoroughly deserves recognition for his contribution at community, school and SANFL Level," he said.

Griff has coached successfully at amateur level winning premierships with Teachers College and Adelaide University, coached winning State High Schools team and selected as State Country coach in 1992 and 1994.

John Griffen's coaching history, coach education history, significant initiatives.

1975 to 1980 Marryatville High school coach (Barry Robran was his team manager)

1980 - Pultney Grammar A1 amateurs

1981 - 84 Adelaide Teachers College A1 Premierships '81'82

1986 - 1987 Adelaide University A1 Premiership '86

From Adelaide Uni website " Player strength was bolstered in 1986 by the arrival of talented players from Adelaide Teachers College who had folded as a Club that year. John Griffen's influence in 1986 and 1987 was significant, with the 1986 A1 Premiership providing the fillip that the Management Committee and Club players and Supporters were seeking "

1988 - 90 South Adelaide Reserves Coach and Assistant to John Reid.

1991 State High Schools Coach winners over ISSA

1992 94 State Country Coach Australian Carnival Port Lincoln SA Geraldton WA

1992 GSFL Zone Coach

1992 State High Schools Coach winners over ISSA

1992 - 94 GSFL Lovelock Shield Coach - winners of shield '93'94

1993 - 95 Encounter Bay Football Club A Grade

1996 South Adelaide FC U19/coach

1997 - 99 Senior Skills Coach league SAFC

2000 - '03 Assistant Coach SAFC league

2004/2005 Special squad assistant Mt Compass SAFC juniors

2006/2009 Langhorne Creek GSFL assistant coach A Grade

2010/2014 assistant Coach SAFC country academy and association junior colts

1975 - 2005 Coached School teams at all the schools he has taught at.