A Word From Joe (Ryan’s Dad) Griffin

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Joe, as you know, is the father of UConn senior tight end Ryan Gtiffin.

He has delighted with his flare for writing what he feels before and he here is again as his son steps on the Rentschler Field turf Saturday for the last time.

Here’s Joe Griffin….

Well, when I step onto Rentschler Field with my wife Pat and hug my son at the Senior Game formalities before tomorrow’s game, it will be with mixed emotions. Relief, Gratefulness,Melancholy, Happiness, Pride, Trepidation, and Sadness all mixed into one.

Relief for my son’s long college journey being over. It was fraught with many challenges for him, and his teammates, and they persevered through it all. I for one, will never forget Jazz and that torturous but magical season. Nor will I forget the OT win at ND. Or Dave Teggart’s kick in the swirling snow.
Gratefulness for the University’s generous scholarship which has, and will, allow my son to go places I would not have dreamed as a young person.

Melancholy over the many memories at Rentschler Field, not just watching great young men play a great game, but for the many wonderful people we came to meet in the last five years, from high fiving perfect strangers, to screaming on third down, to watching UConn’s fan base love their team, tailgating with our favorite people, and many other great memories.

Happiness from the realization that because of my son’s hard work and dedication, coupled with great coaching, and the guidance from his parents and peers, he has a road ahead of him that holds much promise, football or otherwise. That is not a guarantee for all young people today, and we should not take it for granted.

Pride in the University, the team and coaching staff, and my son. They accomplished a lot in his five years. Took a skinny high school kid, and transformed him into a fine young man with very useful skills both on and off the field. I am proud to hear him speak during interviews, and also to hear people speak of his character. I hope that Pat and I are some of the ingredients in that recipe as well.

Trepidation over what the future may hold. The University has provided just about everything they possibly could to ensure our son could become successful. It is almost time for him to break the bond and make his own way. So the future is uncertain, and that is okay. It will be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Sadness over the loss of seeing and being around the great UConn atmosphere for several months a year. From the first excitement of the Spring game to the final whistle of the regular season, and hopefully beyond. We will miss the packing of the gear, the planning and prepping of the tailgate food, lining up at the gate to be first in when the lots open, setting up, attending the Husky Walk, cooking, talking football and family, having a drink or two with great friends, and then game time. What a joy that has been, win or lose. We will miss our extended UConn family, but we will watch as vested spectators from now on. We will be Huskies forever.

I would like to personally thank Coach Mike Foley for his dogged determination to invite my son to attend school and play for UConn. He sat through a lot of boring basketball practices just for the chance to get a few minutes with Ryan (and his family). Other schools were interested, but none came close to the effort Mike put forth. He saw something in Ryan and I guess he was right.

Coach Edsall also came into our living room and impressed upon us that character was the most important trait in his recruits. That spoke volumes. So Thank you Coaches.

Ryan has had many position coaches along the way. He has liked them all. When Coach Deleone was hired, I saw it as a plus for my son, due to the NFL tight ends he had previously coached, as well as Coach Pasqualoni’s impressive NFL resume. Ryan saw it differently. These two coaches wanted something more from Ryan, which at the time he didn’t think he had it to give. It was a tough time for him, he was challenged in ways he hadn’t been before. Ryan will tell you now, that this coaching staff is directly responsible for showing him how to maximize at playing his position, and he definitely improved under their watchful eyes. Thank you Coach P and D.

Lastly, Thank you Desmond, and also John Silver for your friendship and your willingness to share with your readers the other side of the players, the human side. Under those pads and helmets lie some great people, with families, and dreams, hardships, and accomplishments.

Some people may not agree with your columns and blogs, but that’s the best part, guys. It shows that UConn fans care deeply for this team and this school. So keep writing your stuff. I will continue to read it. Let’s go beat Cincinnati and see our seniors off to the proud sendoff they rightly deserve.

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21 thoughts on “A Word From Joe (Ryan’s Dad) Griffin

  1. Jake

    Great story and thanks for expressing what football is really all about. Helping young men to grow in all aspects of being a human being and to be ready for all that the “game of life” has to throw at them. I know coach P has helped him learn these skills as have the rest of the staff and teammates. . It’s more than about the W’s and L’s, but not in the world of Black friday. Thanks Dez as well.

  2. Larry Cohen

    Joe, What a class act. You and Pat are very special people. In an all too common world of finger pointing and “look at me” your uncommon ability to put pride and passion for Ryan into such a healthy and generous perspective stands as a great example for us all. Thanks for letting us share in the journey and for inviting so many others to join the party. I have a feeling we’ll all be watching Ryan soon on Sundays. Best of luck to all our seniors. Go Huskies.

  3. Tom


    Your family has been a wonderful addition to the UConn family and I sincerely thank you for everything Pat & you have done with the tailgate and for welcoming my son and me to join. I also want to thank Ryan for all he has done for my alma mater. He is a quality young man and I am honored to have him as a representative of UConn.

  4. Palatine

    Joe, the reason you got so much from this experience is that you put so much into it. That’s a lesson for all all of us. Thank you.

  5. DebbieZ

    It has always been fun to read what Joe Griffin has to say, as it comes from a perspective different than what most of we as fans have. Ryan has been an excellent player for UConn, and I always cheer when he makes a great catch! Hopefully, there will be many of them tomorrow as we beat Cincinnati, and go on to another Bowl appearance! Congratulations to the seniors, and GO HUSKIES!!!

  6. Swami

    Thank you Mr Griffin. As the father of four who have all competed athletically at the D1 level, I understand where you come from. I love to hear that the coaches are more interested in the character than the athletic success of its’ players.

    None of my kids were Uconn athletes. But my heart is with the Huskies. I may boitch about the coaching but I really want to see in the end what Ryan has experienced at Uconn.

    God bless you and your family for sharing your lives with us!


    God Bless you and you family Mr. Griffin. As you said, “Under those pads and helmets lie some great people, with families, and dreams, hardships, and accomplishments” Clearly the apples dont fall far from the tree…I’ll be cheering for the team and your son..

  8. Teresa

    What a positive, emotional story! it makes you look at the coaches in a different light. I wish all the best to Ryan..he has a great supportive family and family means more than anything else in this world. Thank you Mr Griffin for sharing your son with us!

  9. Big B

    Very moving! Thanks for sharing. It has been awesome to watch Ryan and appreciate his take no prisoners attitude. Best wishes for his future and hoping for a great one to remember tomorrow with appreciative fans.

  10. JB

    Great read… I have had the chance to get to know Joe & Pat over the years – solid people. We’ve got two more games (that’s right, TWO) to share with them and give them our thanks. Beat Cincy!

  11. jackl

    What can one add but we were all lucky to have watched Ryan mature over his career at Uconn. and Lastly it was fun to see Ryan’s/Uconn seasons through the eyes of a very proud dad. Congratulations to the whole Griffin family.
    And if it works out I hear the Giants are in the market for a good TE.

  12. roberttherugguyraleigh

    Second that Dave, Thank You Mr. Griffin for sharing with us, and Thank You Desmond for being the medium!

  13. Kenny Demers

    Thanks Joe for putting things in perspective. As a former Husky it’s rewarding to have someone express some knowledge of inside workings of the program and not the attitude that if the team doesn’t win every game then the coaches must be idiots.

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