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Joial Griffith named women’s basketball coach at Whitworth

Joial Griffith brings Strong California recruiting ties and nationwide experience into her new job as Whitworth women’s basketball coach.

“Joial’s passion for the game, her thoughtfulness in relationships and her commitment to developing the entire student-athlete set her apart from an incredibly deep applicant pool,” Whitworth athletic director Tim Demant said Monday.

Griffith takes over for long-time coach Helen Higgs, who resigned in March after 24 seasons as the winningest women’s coach in school history.

“They are big shoes to fill,” Griffith said. “I think it’s important to get to know the returning and incoming players, start to build a culture that is relationship- and commitment-driven and start recruiting future Pirates.”

Griffith is coming off a one-year stint as an assistant at Williams College (Mass.). Prior to that, she spent two years in her native Southern California at Claremont-Scripps-Colleges, where the Athenas made back-to-back NCAA Division III tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017.

The Athenas compiled a 43-9 record during those two years.

Griffith began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at her alma mater, Concordia University in Irvine, California, in 2011. She had been a two-year player for the Eagles and graduated from Concordia in 2007.

After spending several years in the private sector, Griffith earned a master’s degree in 2013 and went on to assistant coaching stints at Canyon High School (2013-14) and Mendocino College (2014-15).

Whitworth is coming off a 10-15 season, but returns 11 players.

Griffith takes over for Higgs, who won 361 games in 24 years.

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