As Megan Griffith wrapped up her high school basketball career 10 years ago and considered her options for college ball, playing in the Ivy League wasn’t high on her list.
“I wanted to stay in the area for college basketball,” said Griffith, a native of King of Prussia, Pa.
“I am from outside the Philadelphia area and I wanted to go somewhere my parents could watch me. I wasn’t looking at the Ivies but then a Columbia assistant saw me in late July and became interested. It was my best opportunity.”
Griffith headed to New York City in 2003 and made the most of her opportunity at Columbia, captaining the Lions for three seasons, earning All-Ivy honors in 2006 and 2007 and becoming the eighth player in program history to score more than 1,000 points in her career.
For Griffith, the Columbia experience was transformative on several levels.
“I had to learn to juggle a lot of things, academic course load, basketball, and the city,” said Griffith.
“I learned a lot about myself. Basketball is a good platform for life lessons and learning to stick with it.”
After graduating from Columbia in 2007, Griffith stuck with basketball, playing three years of professional ball in Europe, Finland, and the Netherlands.
But deciding to put her playing career on hold, Griffith returned to the Ivy League in 2010, taking the post as director of basketball operations for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.
Now, Griffith is going to experience another slice of Ivy life as she was recently promoted to assistant coach for the Tigers in the wake of Melanie Moore’s recent move to the University of Michigan.
Despite engaging in a heated rivalry with Princeton over her college career, Griffith didn’t have to think twice about joining the Tiger program in the operations post two years ago.
“I called my coach from Columbia and I told him I was thinking about stopping playing and I asked him about coaching opportunities,” recalled Griffith.
“He told me that Princeton had the operations position open and he knew that Courtney [Banghart] and her staff are doing some great things and it would good for me to be part of it so I applied. Once I got on campus, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I think there is a special vibe on the Princeton campus. There is a sense of community and support that transcends athletics.”
Griffith liked the vibe she found around the Princeton team. “I got to meet the players that fall,” said Griffith, noting that her Columbia background helped her bond with the players. “They are a great group; they really complement each other. I was always excited to come to work.”
The work, which included handling administrative and logistical duties such as making travel arrangements, film exchanges, managing the recruiting data base, working at camps, and producing the team newsletter, helped Griffith establish her value to the group.
“The coaching staff really allowed me to be part of the team,” said Griffith.
“Game day is great with the competitive environment. It is great to be part of a united front and being right in there giving input.”
For Griffith, the time was right to have more input into the workings of the program.
“When I applied to be director of operations, I was hoping to achieve a coaching position,” said Griffith.
“I am extremely blessed to be in this position. As Courtney said, from day 1 I was applying to be on her staff as a coach. I was hopeful it would happen this way. I feel ready to do this. I am looking forward to coaching and recruiting. I have been on the staff for two years and I have been able to observe things. I am looking to be more instrumental on the court.”
With Princeton having won three Ivy titles in a row and coming off a 24-5 season which included a 14-0 league mark, Griffith sees good things ahead.
“I am excited, each year brings challenges and we have to find the identity of what this team can be,” said Griffith.
“We will have four seniors and some good players coming in. I am confident the seniors can bring things