Ever since he starred on Hephzibah's defense, Rudy Griffin had hoped to coach Division I college football.
He'll get his chance next season.
Griffin, who played at Alabama, has taken a graduate assistant position at Washington State, where he will work primarily with the Cougars' defense and running backs.
"It was really a no-brainer for me. It's always been a dream of mine to coach Division I football," said Griffin, who graduated from Hephzibah High School in 2001.
Coaching at Washington State reunites Griffin with Cougars co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball, who coached the Crimson Tide's safeties during Griffin's tenure in Tuscaloosa, Ala., from 2002-05.
He will also lend a hand to running backs and special teams coach Dave Ungerer, another former Tide assistant who coached special teams and tight ends during Griffin's time at Alabama.
"I have a very good relationship with both coaches, but especially coach Ball," Griffin said. "He was the one that contacted me and said 'Rudy, I never forgot about you. You wanted an opportunity, well here you go.' "
Griffin says that growing up and playing in Hephzibah provided him with values that he will try to instill in his players
"Playing at Hephzibah High School, which is kind of off to itself, you're playing for more than just yourself, you're playing for the whole community," Griffin said. "I learned a lot about camaraderie and that's something I've tried to pass along to the guys I coach."
Griffin was recently working as a high school assistant coach. As defensive coordinator, he helped lead Demopolis High School to the Alabama Class AAAAA state title last season.
In 2009, Washington State won just one game (1-11) and finished last or near the bottom of almost every major statistical category in the Pac-10 Conference.
"I'm hoping that (Washington State) can get things turned around here pretty quick. We've got some work to do but I think there are some good people in place to get the team on the right direction," Griffin said.
Griffin said he hopes his stint as a grad assistant will help springboard him to more prominent college coaching positions.
His goal is to become the head coach at Alabama.