University of Miami Athletics

Damon Griffiths


Assistant Coach (Recruiting and Operations Coordinator)



Damon Griffiths - Track & Field - University of Miami Athletics

A University of Miami track and field alumni with the class of 1997, Damon Griffiths returns home to Coral Gables in 2023.

In 2022, Griffiths coached Arden La-Rose to a historic sophomore season. She broke the eighteen-year-old 1000m program record at the Scarlet and White Invitational in 2:51.00.  At the Crimson Elite Meet she won the Mile in a time of 4:58.24, a 20-second personal best. She capped her indoor campaign by advancing to the final of the AAC Indoor Championship Mile Final. During the outdoor season, she set a personal best in the 800m of 2:11.19, moving her to sixth on the all-time list. Freshman Jesse Benavides established personal bests during the outdoor season, running 1:53.79 for 800m and 3:57.0 for 1500m.

The men’s and women’s continued success off the course by earning NCAA Division I Academic All-American Team honors in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

During the 2021 season, Justin Bridgewater and Jasmine Knowles won the men’s and women’s 800m Bahamian National Championships. Knowles moved to fourth all-time 800m outdoor, with a time of 2:08.44, she was also a leg on the program record 4x400m relay that advanced to the NCAA Championships in a time of 3:34.07. Bridgewater established a personal best in the 800m of 1:52.99 at the Tom Jones Memorial.

Under his guidance in 2020, distance runners Yohance Haynes and Derwin Moultrie have all etched their names into USF’s record books. Haynes is currently no. 4 in the men’s 800-meter dash with a time of 1 minute, 52.49 seconds. Moultrie took fourth place at AAC Indoor 800m and holds spot seven on the all-time leader boards with a time of 1:53.55. Alexandra Weir placed seventh in the mile at the AAC Indoor Championship 5:01.8 while the Women’s Distance Medley team (Weir, Bazile, Bienz, Walsh) placed seventh 11:58.34. 

In his first season with the Bulls, Griffiths guided the women’s cross country team to the highest team finish since 2016 at the American Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships. In addition, Griffiths helped Natalie Walsh finish 26th overall at the conference championships meet and become the first Bull since 2016 to finish in the top 30.

Damon Griffiths served as Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for the University of Miami track and field team from 2007-2019, working with the men’s and women’s middle and long-distance runners as well as the cross country team.  
Griffiths has helped 22 athletes post school records (11 men and 11 women), coached 16 ACC scorers, and helped produce 62 all-time top-five performances in UM history. 
While working with the Hurricanes, Griffiths also helped coach Miami to four ACC Women’s Track and Field Championships, winning indoor in 2016 and 2017 and outdoor in 2018. 
Griffiths saw two women post top-five finishes in seven events in 2018. Freshman Kayla Johnson had a breakout season and finished her first season as a Hurricane with the best 800m mark in school history, while Anne den Otter broke the 1000m record that had been set 20 years earlier by Latrice Shaw in 1998. 
Senior Sean Grossman also had an outstanding 2018 campaign after he finished the season holding the top finishes in five events. Those events being the indoor 3,000m, 5,000m, and outdoor 3,000m, 5,000, and 10,000m. Grossman made Miami history by scoring at the ACC outdoor meet, becoming the first distance runner to advance to the NCAA East Preliminary. 
Nathan Kuck also had a standout campaign posting Miami’s second-best time in both the 5,000m and the 10,000m, just behind Grossman in both events. Kuck was Miami’s top male finished in all six races in 2017 in his final cross country season and holds the program’s top mark in the men’s 8K at the ACC Championships. The men’s cross country team had the program’s best season and concluded with a trio of runners finishing in the top 50 at the 2017 South Regional. 
Griffiths helped four-year runner Gabrielle Hesslau to a standout senior campaign in 2017 when she posted four school records in Miami history — two indoor and two outdoor. Hesslau was also the first distance woman to score in the 10,000m at the ACC outdoor meet. 
Griffiths produced two NCAA East Preliminary Qualifiers in 2014, when both Taneisha Cordell and Thandi Stewart qualified in the 800m with Stewart advancing to the NCAA Championships and earning All-America honorable mention. Cordell was a four-time ACC 800m finalist and boasts Miami’s best 600y finish, while Stewart boasts the best 600m mark. 
Griffiths’ time with Alaine Tate and Thandi Stewart saw the two post-school records in the 800m, with Tate’s 2013 time of 2:06.09 standing as the UM record to date. The pair were both ACC finalists in their respective events, while Tate was the ACC Indoor runner-up in the 800m. 
Tate, Wright, Stewart, and Arrington set the school record in the indoor DMR with an 11:35.75 mark in 2014 and became the first team to score in a conference meet in Hurricane history. 
Greg Kaczka set school records in the indoor mile and DMR and in the outdoor 1,500m and DMR in 2013. 
The 2009 season saw the emergence of freshman Janet Price, who participated in the USA Junior Championships in the 800m run. Griffiths also coached Patrick O’Donnell to a school record time of 2:27.55 in the men’s 1,000m run. 
UM placed three finalists in the 800m final at the 2008 ACC Indoor Championships, with Tim Harris and Patrick O’Donnell on the men’s side and Ena Leufroy for the women. The men’s quartet of Harris, O’Donnell, Cory Nelms, and Richard Bernard broke the indoor school record in the distance medley relay.

Griffiths spent eight years as the Athletic Director and head cross country/track coach at Bay Point High School in Miami. At Bay Point, Griffiths guided the Falcons to six consecutive district track titles, two regional titles, and a state runner-up finish in 2005. Griffiths was named Miami Herald High School Boys Track Coach of the Year in 2005. 

Griffiths competed for the University of Miami from 1993-1997. He competed in events ranging from the 400-meters to cross country. During his stay, he was a record holder of four indoor events (800m, mile, 4X400 relay, distance medley relay) and five outdoor events (800m, 4X400 relay, 4X800 relay, sprint medley relay and distance medley relay). Griffiths served as the cross-country team captain while earning all-state honors in his sophomore and junior years. Griffiths ran the 400 leg on the 1994 Penn Relays Championship sprint relay team, the only one in school history. Griffiths earned his Bachelor of Science in speech communications and sociology from the University of Miami in 1997.