Coach Dennis Green is currently the varsity coach for the Sandwich Blue Knights boys’ basketball team, which has just won the Atlantic Coast League crown for the second consecutive year. He has grown up playing sports and has had a long and successful career as a coach. He recently retired from teaching at Middleborough High School after 35 years. He coached the Carver High School varsity baseball team for 20 years, has coached football, and next fall will begin his 11th season as coach of the Middleborough High School varsity volleyball team. From the inspiration he draws from family and the drive he sees from his student-athletes, he has formed his own pillars of success in coaching and guidelines to good character.
Here is an inside look at the impact sports has had on his life, how they continue to impact him, and how he believes sports should help to prepare a student-athlete for life.
You have been a successful coach for many years. How did you get into coaching?
I’ve been coaching as long as I can remember. Sports gave me a purpose growing up. I learned about commitment, hard work, respect, responsibility, and dedication. Giving back what I have gained through athletics is why I coach.
You have coached high school football, volleyball, baseball, and basketball. What is it like to be able to help young people excel in all of these different sports?
I treat all sports the same, as I do my student-athletes. I want them to understand how special it is to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I want them to be unselfish and work toward a common goal.
What sports did you play?
I played basketball, baseball, football, and I high-jumped at Randolph HIgh School. I played football, basketball, and baseball in college at Boston State, now UMass Boston.
What stands out for you at this point in your career?
Sports continue to be fun and exciting, even after being involved for so many years.
You are a second-year coach with Blue Knight varsity basketball. You have now won the ACL championship two years in a row. How does it feel to have that kind of early success with this team?
I wish I could take the credit, but I can’t. This is a very talented group. I hope to prepare them well for each opponent but, ultimately, they are the ones who have to rise to each challenge and execute the plays. It’s been a great experience coaching such a hard-working, dedicated group. They deserve all the credit.
Are you prepared for next season with the Blue Knights and losing five seniors?
My five seniors have led this team well and will surely be missed. Two of my seniors have been varsity players for four years (Joey Downes and Hank O’Brien). That kind of experience is hard to replace. Joey, Hank, Scotty, Will, and Dante are a special breed. I wish them only success in the years to come. Next season’s team will be a new challenge.
What is the most exciting game you have ever coached?
The state championship game at Holy Cross with Carver High School baseball was a very exciting moment for the kids and for me. It was fun to take a team that was seeded 15th all the way to the state finals. We played Northbridge and lost to them. It was their third trip to the state championship. They ended up beating us in a 7-4 game, which was a great match. They had some star players who signed with the Red Sox, so we were up against a tough team. That was exciting. As far as with Sandwich, I think the biggest one that sticks in my mind is the Dennis-Yarmouth game to win the championship last year. It was a must-win situation at their place. The gym was packed, the kids were pumped; it was a great game and we came out on top.
For how long do you plan to continue coaching?
As long as I still have something to offer.
Who is your inspiration?
First, my parents, who taught me the value of hard work and the importance of education. Secondly, my wife, Ellen, who has been my biggest supporter. Thirdly, my four boys, Ryan, Cory, Connor, and Devin, who continue to make me proud of their own accomplishments. Cory, especially, has taught me tolerance and acceptance in dealing with the curveballs that life throws at you. It’s important to keep things in perspective and enjoy the little moments.
We know you give good advice on the court. What words of wisdom would you have for the boys off the court?
Character counts. The six pillars of character are a common theme throughout all my teams. Trustworthiness; be honest, be loyal, build a good reputation, Respect; treat others with respect, be tolerant, Responsibility; do what you are supposed to do - even when nobody is watching, consider consequences, Fairness; be open-minded, don’t blame, treat people fairly, Caring; be kind, compassionate, express gratitude, and finally Citizenship; do your share to make your school/community better. If my student-athletes can take these values to the next level, then they will be successful on whatever path they choose.
Coach Green’s experience in athletics has shaped the ideals he passes down to the students who play for him. Whether he’s leading a low-seeded team to a championship or teaching an individual an important lesson, he continues to contribute to the success of his teams and each player. Through the lessons he learned that made him a success, coach Green paves a path to accomplishment and achievement for each young man and woman he coaches. If he plans to continue coaching for as long as he has something to offer, then plan on seeing him for many years to come.