Griffen Stacy has been enjoying much of his early summer vacation since graduating from Rogers High last week.
And why wouldn’t he? Life is good now that the former Rams quarterback will continue his playing career after committing to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. The decision was made easier for Stacy with coach John L. Smith at the helm.
“The coach really showed that he wanted me, and had a plan for me there,” Stacy said of Smith, who previously had stints at Idaho, Utah State, Louisville, Michigan State, and most recently, Arkansas. “He has experience coaching (many teams) at the Division I level ... you don’t always get to be coached by someone with that much experience.”
Fort Lewis, a Division II football program, will look to give Stacy time to grow in its system, while allowing him the ability to put his full focus on school in the beginning of his college career.
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Stacy understands the need to grow. After spending a year rehabbing from a torn ACL and spending a season as a backup quarterback for Rogers, Stacy had tough lessons to learn. Sometimes it’s difficult matching the want in life with reality.
But Stacy never let that get to him while dealing with his injury. For him, it was the chance to get an early start on one of his life goals with football: to become a coach as well as a teacher.
“I have to thank Coach (Gene) Bowen for giving me an example of what I want to be as a coach,” Griffen said. “I don’t see a time where football’s not in my life. I’m passionate about sharing what I love with people.”
All Stacy’s injury did was make him more committed to the craft.
“For me, his poise is probably his most dominant trait,” said Alex Stacy, Griffen’s brother and an assistant on the Rogers High staff. “No matter when the chips are down, he has poise, and that’s what you look for in a quarterback. He had one high school season as a starter, really, and he gets to play collegiate football — that’s incredible when you think about it.”
“I feel fortunate to get this opportunity, especially after I tore my ACL,” Griffen said. “The whole team picked me up. That was a great feeling.”
Alex is a major reason for Griffen wanting to come back to teach and coach in the future. Having that older brother who pushes you to be better athlete can be driving factor to anyone’s success. Yet having that brother that pushes you to be a better person is something all the more rare. It’s the ultimate ability to self-critique, to grow as an individual.
“When I was hurt, (Alex) told me to not look at it like it was the end — he reminded me I still had plenty of time to play football,” Griffen said.
“He was our ball boy when I was in high school,” Alex said. “He’s always been around football, soaking in what he can. When he was hurt — I went through two injuries myself — I told him that it wasn’t the end.”
Now Stacy can spend the rest of his summer days working as a Tacoma Rainiers bat boy, soaking up the sun inside the dugout at Cheney Stadium, knowing where he wants to go.
It’s a rare treat for someone to have such certainty at young age.
“He’s more certain of what he wants to do than I was when I went to college,” Alex said. “He just has that trait you want to see in a quarterback — someone who gives you confidence out there because he doesn’t get rattled.”
And the new environment Griffen will head out to won’t shake his determination to come back someday, making the next generation of local athletes better, just like he experienced during his time at Rogers.