He’s the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history.
He’s also more than just that.
Archie Griffin’s football playing days with Ohio State and the Cincinnati Bengals are long gone, and he retired from the Buckeyes’ athletic department last summer.
But what he hasn’t stopped doing for the past seven years is holding a charity golf tournament in his name at East Manatee’s Concession Golf Club.
The event, which attracts several former Ohio State players, raises money for the Sarasota County Boys and Girls Club.
Griffin spoke to the Bradenton Herald about winning the Heisman Trophy twice (1974 and 1975), whether there will be another two-time winner, college football’s playoff system and his charity golf tournament.
Here’s what Griffin, who lives in Bradenton during the winter months, had to say from our Q&A session, trimmed down for length and time consideration:
How do you feel about college football’s current playoff format?
The playoff situation still needs some work. ... You’ve got to have the champions of the big conferences represented and then give other folks an opportunity. I think you’ve got to have, to me, eight teams. At the very least, six teams in that playoff. ... Reason being is UCF was a great example. They claimed the national championship and they should have, because of what they did. They were undefeated. They beat Auburn and Auburn beat Alabama and Georgia. So why not? Who says they couldn’t have won it? They won every game.
There’s been much discussion around college basketball’s corruption scandal involving the FBI. Is it just a matter of time before that hits college football?
It certainly makes you wonder. It’s probably something that’s going on, but you just don’t know when it’s going to hit or where it’s going to hit. But they’re paying money like that to get basketball players, somewhere along the line they’re probably doing it for some football player somewhere.
So how much of a proponent are you of paying college football players?
I’m a proponent of giving them (something), but I don’t know if I’d give them a salary. ... A stipend, I’m certainly a proponent of that because I think that they deserve that.
It’s always said that records are meant to be broken. But you’re still the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Do you think that will change?
I expect it to be broken. I tell people every day when someone asks me, somebody is going to break that record. Somebody will get two, maybe somebody will get three because now they’re starting to give it to (younger players).
Still, is the pressure of repeating or the allure of NFL money making it more difficult for someone to win it more than once?
I’m a believer you give the guy the award when he deserves it. If the guy’s a freshman and he deserves the award, then give it to him. He has to come back that next year and play extremely hard, because that target is on his back.
How did you avoid the distractions and focus on your senior season to win the second Heisman Trophy?
It weighed heavy on my mind for a while and it wasn’t until I read a verse in the Book of Psalm 37: 4-6, ‘Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ And what that told me was my job was not to worry about going out and winning football games. My job was to serve the Lord and if it was meant to be, He was going to give it to me. If it wasn’t, He was going to make it all right.
Your charity golf tournament raised more than $686,000 prior to this year’s event. Where did the idea to put it together to give back start?
(Concession owner) Bruce (Cassidy) is pretty philanthropic and he wanted the club to host an event to raise money to help the community. And he asked me if I’d be interested. I told him absolutely, because from my standpoint, Woody Hayes, my former football coach, always talked to us about paying it forward. To me, that’s a perfect match. Concession, Concession Charities to host an outing. The first year we did it, it was for the All Children’s Hospital. The last seven years, it’s been the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County. And again, it’s been a perfect match. With (what) these young people are doing over there and the programs they are getting involved in, it’s really building character and really preparing these kids for real life. That’s what it’s all about. Young people are our leaders of the future. We’ve got to make sure they get every opportunity to be the best that they can be.