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Basketball: Changing of the guard – Griffin takes over as girls hoops coach

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017
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Going to New Roles

GOING TO NEW ROLES – After sharing the bench for the past three years, Lindsay Griffin (left) will take over as the Decatur girls basketball coach for the retiring Billy Garner (right). Garner led the Lady Eagles to 236 wins in his 12 seasons as the coach. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Three years after returning for a second stint in Decatur as an assistant, Lindsay Griffin will now get a chance to lead the Lady Eagles.

Monday night, Griffin was named the Decatur girls basketball coach, replacing the retiring Billy Garner.

“I’m excited. I hope the girls are excited as I am,” Griffin said.

This will be Griffin’s second head coaching job. She coached two years at Graham before coming back to Decatur. She was also at Decatur for the 2007-08 season before going to Springtown as an assistant for four years.

Griffin expects the past few seasons with Garner will help her in taking over the program.

“This is a different experience than Graham because I’ve been here and know the girls,” Griffin said. “This program is more established.”

Griffin takes over a Decatur team that finished second in 9-4A last season and finished 17-14 in Garner’s last season.

“Billy has always been a mentor to me. I’ve known him all my life,” Griffin said. “To be around for his last few years and to be able to establish relationships with the players will give us a head start.”

Garner was glad to see Griffin take over the program.

“This was the plan I wanted when I hired her back,” said Garner, who coached the Lady Eagles the past 12 years. “I’ve known her since she was born. Her father was my coach. I’m excited for her.”

Griffin will apply many of the same defensive principles as Garner, playing man-to-man defense. Offensively, she hopes to speed up the game.

“With the athletes coming up, especially in the younger groups, we’ll try to push the ball more and score in transition,” Griffin said. “We want to speed things up a bit.”

GARNER RETIRES AFTER 12 YEARS AT HELM

Playing gritty defense under the direction of coach Billy Garner over the past 12 seasons, the Decatur Lady Eagles captured five district titles and made five trips to the region quarterfinals.

Garner’s teams won 236 games and made the postseason in 10 of his dozen years at the helm. The longtime coach is now retiring.

“I’ve been lucky since I’ve been here. I’ve had a lot of good players and kids that worked hard and bought into what we were trying to do,” Garner said. “I appreciate all their hard work. It’s been all about the kids.”

The Lady Eagles went 17-14 in 2017, finishing second to 4A state champion Argyle in District 9-4A with only two returning starters from the previous year. Decatur fell to Wilmer-Hutchins the bi-district round of the playoffs.

“Those kids did a good job and played hard,” Garner said.

Garner will be replaced on the bench by his assistant Lindsay Griffin. Griffin spent the past three seasons with Garner. She was also an assistant for him in 2008.

Garner was also the girls coordinator. That role will now be filled by volleyball coach Clark Oberle, the former Argyle coach hired Monday night by Decatur.

In all, Garner coached 29 years, including 18 as a head coach. He was the head boys basketball coach in Alvord for six years.

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