Chris Giffin Takes Over as Lawrence North Boys Head Basketball Coach

Writer / Ryan Kennedy
Photographer / Walker Photography

Chris GiffinWhen legendary coach Jack Keefer retired after 46 years, Lawrence North High School didnt have to look far to find his replacement. In April, Lawrence North announced the appointment of Chris Giffin, girls head basketball coach, as the schools second-ever boys head basketball coach.

A Ben Davis High School graduate, Giffin attended Indiana University, where he was a student manager from 1998 to 2000 for Bob Knight, boys head basketball coach. After graduation, he became a graduate assistant coach for Knight at Texas Tech University for two years. Giffin then left Knights side and moved back to Indiana, where he got a job at Lawrence North and served as an assistant coach for Keefer for 10 years.  

In 2012 Giffin was named head coach of Lawrence Norths girls basketball team, and accumulated a record of 201-60. His tenure with the team included seven 20-win seasons, five Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championships, four Marion County tournament championships, five sectional championships and four regional championships. His teams made the Class 4A state title game twice, winning it once in 2020.

Giffin says he was approached about accepting the boys basketball head coaching position the day after Keefer announced his retirement, but wasnt aware that this was the plan beforehand. It was not completely shocking to me based on the fact that I have been at Lawrence North now for 20 years, we were fortunate and had really good success on the girls side, and I had worked with the boys before and been an assistant for Coach Keefer for a long time,” he says. “So Im not completely shocked by it, but I definitely wasnt aware that that was the plan.”

He says he was sad and surprised when Keefer announced his retirement. Like many others, Giffin assumed Keefer would keep coaching forever. It just seems like that was kind of an institution here,” he says. “They had a good year last year – a really good year. He did a great job as always.” Giffin says hed never thought about stepping into the role of head coach for the boys team, and didnt think hed ever have the opportunity. I really, really loved my time on the girls side as the head coach there, and the relationships developed there,” he says. 

Chris Giffin

Giffin met with Keefer before accepting the position. He says he wanted to be sure that the retirement was Keefers choice. He had a candid conversation with Keefer and Keefers wife. The legendary coach gave Giffin his blessing. I figured they would because we had had a great relationship when I worked for him, and shared ideas and supported each other when I was on the girls side,” he says. “It wasnt surprising by any means that he supported me or gave me that blessing, but I definitely wanted to get that from him. That was important to me.”

Giffin says he is humbled and flattered to have been offered the job. Hes grateful for the opportunity. He says he doesnt lose sight of the fact that he wouldnt have this opportunity if it wasnt for Keefer allowing him to be a part of his staff in so many different roles, and learn at his side. Im very grateful for that,” he says. To be only the second coach in a school thats been around since 1976, thats pretty surreal. Im very, very hopeful that we can do a good job and can continue on the rich tradition that Coach Keefer has put in place.”

Theres no replacing Keefer. Giffin knows that. He says hes focused on trying to be the best version of himself. Im going to bring the best qualities and attributes that I have, many of which are similar to or have been learned from Coach Keefer and Coach Knight and others, to continue with the basketball excellence,” he says.

Giffin had a lot of success on the girls side. He feels that one of his strengths is building relationships, and he will try to continue that on the boys side. He says he has an excellent staff, several of whom are holdovers from Keefers staff.

The bar is set high, but hes excited about the opportunity. He believes the boys team will be very competitive and continue to be a strong team that does it the right way.         

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