LHW: Obviously you’re a great coach as measured by the success of your athletes. What characteristics/traits do you feel makes a great wrestling coach? Can a coach make the difference in the success of these future champions, or have you been fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach talent that was destined to be great no matter who coached them? What difference can a coach make? What are you emphasizing in your practices to make a difference in the success of your athletes?
GREEN: I once told a recruit this- “You either believe that champions are a product of their environment, or that they are made by what’s inside them.” I strongly believe it is the latter. The guy who wants to be great is going to be regardless of obstacle or circumstance. Can you teach that? Yes. I think the coaches biggest impact can be made by being systematic, by instilling hard work early, by teaching strategy and goal setting. I’m fortunate enough to have some guys on a longitudinal basis…a guy like Vinson from 8/9 years old ‘til he makes the Olympics, so it’s easier to do some of those things over time. Coaching is about trust and relationship building as much as it is about technique.
LHW: If a young coach came to you and asked “what things should I be doing in practice to help my wrestlers achieve or even exceed their potential”, what pointers would you give him/her?
GREEN: Establish trust with your athletes, demand that they give you their best and teach them to love the sport as much as you do.
LHW: The question on the top of the minds of every aspiring champion wrestler on Long Island is how do you do it? Some of the best wrestlers to come out of New York State over the past 12 or so years have emerged from the Shamrock Wrestling Club. The club is the envy of Long Island wrestling. Champions such as Troy Nickerson, Devon Brown, J.P. O’Connor, Tyler Beckwith, Kyle Dake and many others have emerged from Shamrock. Did Shamrock Wrestling Club contribute to their ultimate success? If so, how? What happens at Shamrock that takes these young athletes to the next level?
GREEN: Sure, Shamrock contributed. I don’t believe you can delineate the factors that go into an individual’s success like ingredients in a recipe though. We are just happy to provide resources and opportunities. The athletes do most of the work. I think the key to our success has always been the collective cooperation of the local coaches and the ability to put egos aside for the betterment of the kids. If you have that, you can get somewhere. It also helps that we instill the mentality of there being no offseason. The guys you mentioned put just as much, if not more value on Fargo results as they do on NYSPHSAA success.
LHW: You’re now an Assistant Coach of the Binghamton University Wrestling team. How did you come to make that transition? What are the goals that you, along with coaches Popolizio, Papadatos, and Seras have for the program? Do you see the Bearcats ever wresting the CAA crown away from the perennial champions, Hofstra University?
GREEN: We will get there, but it will be one step at a time. Don’t forget the program was wiped out a few years ago, so we basically have started from nothing. I think the success we have had so far has been easy compared to what it will take to get to the next level. Having an All American, Josh Patterson, just three years in is a nice milestone. I think we have a good plan, and knowing those two guys the way I do, I can’t imagine NOT reaching all the plateaus we have set. And we have great kids. Binghamton is a nice fit for NY kids.