Garfinkle is the sixth head coach in BSC football history, joining Joey Jones (2007), Baby Haynes (1918), Charlie Brown (1919-23), Harold "Red" Drew (1924-27) and the all-time winningest coach in BSC history, Jenks Gillem (1928-39). Gillem was 51-43-8 in 12 seasons.
Garfinkle owns a 27-22 overall record in six seasons at the helm of the Panther football program. In 2013 BSC was 5-4 for its fourth-straight winning season, with wins against NCAA Division I Stetson University, LaGrange, Hendrix, Berry, and Rhodes. The Panthers were 3-3 in Southern Athletic Association (SAA) action, and five players earned All-Conference accolades.
The 2012 season featured a Birmingham-Southern team that started 5-0 and was ranked as high as 15th in the D3football.com Top 25 national poll. After three straight losses, the Panthers rebounded to beat conference foes Centre and Millsaps on the road to finish 7-3 and earn a share of the SAA Championship. Thirteen Panthers were named to the All-SAA team, including eight on the First-Team, four on the Second-Team, and one Honorable Mention.
In 2011, Birmingham-Southern improved its record to 7-2 while finishing 4-2 against Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) opponents, finishing third in the conference. BSC began the season with a 5-0 record, earning a first-ever Top 25 Division III national ranking. Fourteen Panthers earned All-Conference honors, with junior tailback Shawn Morris voted the SCAC Offensive Player of the Year. Morris was also named D3football.com First-Team All-America and Second-Team Associated Press Little All-America.
The 2010 season, Garfinkle's third year at the helm, saw the program's first winning season since its reinception in 2007. The Panthers, playing with their first four-year senior class, went 6-4, led the SCAC in scoring offense, and led the country in rushing offense by a significant margin at 254 yards per game, which would have ranked 11th in the NCAA. BSC intercepted a conference-high 24 passes, while boasting a turnover margin of +18. Out of BSC’s four losses, each was by less than eleven points. Ten Panthers were named to the All-SCAC team, including three on the First Team, two on the Second Team, and five Honorable Mention nods.
The 2009 team went 4-6 with a 3-4 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference record, with five Panthers earning All-Conference honors.
In 2008, his first year as head coach of the Panthers, Garfinkle led the team to a 3-7 record improving on the 1-7 record from the year before. Playing with mostly sophomores and freshmen, the Panthers improved throughout the year, winning two out of their final three games, while finishing 2-5 in the conference.
Before arriving on the Hilltop, Garfinkle spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Ala., working as defensive and kicking game coordinator, as well as linebackers coach. The Jaguars made the playoffs in 2003 in only the first year that Spain Park had a senior class. The following year, the Jaguars lost to Hoover in the Quarterfinals of the AHSAA State playoffs, finishing with a 9-4 mark.
He coached linebackers at Georgia Southern University from 1992-1996 before going into private business from 1997-2001. The Eagles had the number one ranked scoring defense in the Southern Conference in 1993 and 1995 – both of those years the Eagles lost in the NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinals to eventual national champions Youngstown State (1993) and Montana (1995).
Garfinkle entered the coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State University following his three-year career at linebacker for the Gamecocks. He began as a student/graduate assistant coach from 1980-81, and spent from 1982-1985 as defensive end and defensive line coach. Garfinkle wrapped up his JSU stint as Defensive Coordinator and linebackers coach from 1986-1991.
The Gamecocks won seven Gulf South Conference titles and made the NCAA Division II playoffs nine times during Garfinkle's 15-year tenure as a player and coach. JSU played in the National title game three times in 1977, 1989 and 1991. During those years, Garfinkle's defenses consistently ranked in the top five in the national statistics, ranking first in 1989 and second in 1990 and 1991 in scoring defense.
Garfinkle earned a B.S. in Education from Jacksonville State in 1981 and went on to complete a Master’s in Education in 1982. He is married to the former Jan Johnson of Jacksonville, Ala., and the couple resides in Hoover, Ala. They have three grown children: Katie, Elyssa, and Jake.