Coach says Griffin died of heart ailment

Updated: September 9, 2009, 6:50 PM ET
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Samford basketball player Jim Griffin has been found dead in his dorm room.

The body of 23-year-old Griffin, a senior from Chicago, was discovered Tuesday morning in his room at Samford's Beeson Woods residential village.

A university news release indicated Griffin, a reserve forward, died in his sleep after playing in a pickup game and lifting weights Monday night.

The Jefferson County coroner's office said results of an autopsy, conducted Wednesday, would be released in about two weeks.

"The Samford community is profoundly saddened by the death of Jim Griffin," Samford president Andrew Westmoreland said. "He was a popular student on campus, in addition to being a member of the men's basketball team. It never is easy when any life is lost, but it is more difficult to lose one of such great promise."

Westmoreland told students of Griffin's death at a regularly scheduled convocation service and then in a campus-wide e-mail to students and employees. He said the university's counseling center and ministries staffs would be available to grieving students.

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday evening in Samford's Reid Chapel.

"This is a tremendous loss for our university and our team," Samford coach Jimmy Tillette said. "Our objective now is to help Jim's family and his teammates and friends deal with the situation."

Samford postponed volleyball and soccer matches. Athletic director Bob Roller said decisions on other athletic events will be announced later this week.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press