One of Winston-Salem State’s own needs help, and it’s a good bet that Fernandez “Bumpy” Griffin will get that financial help because of what he means to so many.
Griffin, a 1979 graduate of WSSU who is also a Winston-Salem native, suffered a stroke while on a cruise in the Caymen Islands late last month, and is still in a hospital there, according to Tim Grant, a former WSSU basketball player and assistant coach.
When Bumpy was in school he helped out all the coaches in the athletics department at WSSU in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s.
“Bumpy was the everything man, not just the right-hand man for Coach (Big House) Gaines,” Grant said. “He did just about everything from equipment guy, to team trainer and on the road for basketball games he would keep the scorebook.”
Friends and family have started a gofundme page https://www.gofundme.com/f/1pq2o6685c?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_dn_cpgnstaticsmall_r&fbclid=IwAR313CuwNO2wsDzBLBGxTD7wnSNbzS5kYin8ylq8iwSaVBvJw6ui_sRJFVg to help raise $25,000 so Griffin can be transported back.
Bumpy, who is in the Big House Gaines Hall of Fame at WSSU, stayed and worked at WSSU after his graduation and then when Pete Richardson left WSSU for Southern University in the early 1990s, Bumpy who went with him.
“He went with Pete to Southern and then when Pete got out of coaching he was a teacher there in Baton Rouge,” Grant said. “And then Bumpy moved back here to Winston-Salem about three years ago.”
On the gofundme page it asks for donation with the help of “Bumpy's Angels” which is what the women were called back in the late 1970s who helped with the football and basketball programs.
“Bumpy made sure that women got the chance to be managers and help with the equipment room and anything else that needed to be done,” Grant said. “He was one of the first to do that in the CIAA.”
Here is what the gofundme page says:
On July 23, 2019, Fernandez “Bumpy” Griffin suffered a double stroke while on a cruise with his friends and family. He is currently in Intensive Care in a hospital in the Cayman Islands. While his condition is fairly stable, his family is currently in need of $25,000 in order to have him medically air lifted back to the United States. We are asking for help from all those who know and love our beloved Bumpy! Please donate as well as share with others! Thank you all in advance.
Bumpy was somebody who was well known throughout the CIAA, according to Grant.
“Everybody in the CIAA at all the schools knew who he was and they didn’t know him as Mr. Griffin,” Grant said. “Everybody knew him by Bumpy.”
Bumpy’s mother, Mildred Griffin, is a prominent alumni as well and has been keeping folks updated about her son.
“Mildred is very well known throughout the WSSU community and she’s very active,” Grant said. “We all just hope that Bumpy is doing better.”
As for the nickname of Bumpy, Grant said he doesn't know how it came about.
“To this day I have no idea how he got that nickname,” Grant said.