Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Honoring Coach Raffin

Coach Duane Raffin, seated, is flanked by members of the 1976 Holly High School cross country team who are actively raising funds for the Scholarship Fund: (from left) Roger Coleman, John Buckley, Larry Davidson and Jeff Lewis.

As a teenager in the 1970s, Tom Flanigan considered himself an underdog. Small in stature but a determined runner, Flanigan woke up every morning to a message taped to his bedroom dresser: "If there's a will there's a way." That daily inspiration came from his cross country coach, Duane Raffin of Holly High School.

Now a business executive in Atlanta, Georgia, Flanigan remembers his high school years under the tutelage of "Coach Raff" with great admiration and affection. He recalls the way Coach Raff influenced his life and helped him become a successful business leader, husband and father.

"I first wanted to do something to honor Coach Raffin," said Flanigan. "He was such a positive influence in my life and a great role model. I wanted to honor him in a way that I believe is very important to all young people-education-and also give back to my hometown."

So Flanigan contacted a few friends and together they established the Coach Raffin Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. All were members of the 1976 Holly High School cross country team: John Buckley, Billy Ballard, Roger Coleman and Jeff Lewis.

"We look forward to someday granting a scholarship to a college-bound Holly High School senior who embodies the values instilled by Coach Raffin-hard work, perseverance and a positive mental attitude," said Flanigan. Flanigan hopes others will consider a gift to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint Coach Raffin Scholarship Fund.