Continuing our attempt to highlight OUR coaches in Louisiana we caught up Coach Green from West Monroe. Coach Green has continued the tradition at West Monroe as they have been one of the dominant teams in 5A over the years. Below is our Q&A:
Your team had another 20+ win season and landed in the 8 seed before running into a few injuries and a red hot Northshore team. Can you recap last year and how do you plan to build off that momentum to compete for a state champion this year (in a very competitive 5A classification)?
I guess when you have been coaching as long as I have, you think you have seen it all. We knew going into season we felt that this was probably our most complete team in quite some time. Depth, Size, Speed, and Experience. And when it was all said and done our kids fought through more adversity than any group I have ever had. In our last game of year for district championship at Ouachita our senior guard with a lead under a minute tore her ACL. We ended up losing momentum and game. We certainly saw film on Northshore and knew they were an extremely talented team who had not played to their full potential. We fought hard in game, and at one point had built as much as an 18 point lead in second half. Their kids turned it up and ended up hitting a last second shot for the win. A loss like that affects players, and I have a feeling our players will be coming back with a deep hunger to work harder than they ever have before. Our 20-21 squad will have a mix of talent, strong work ethic, passion, determination, and grit. I like their desire to win and their loyalty to their team mates. I think these qualities will serve them well in the upcoming season.
West Monroe has been a powerhouse in 5A for years. What do you feel are the reasons for your team's success?
I always think we have the best administration in the state. They are totally behind our students academically and athletically. Our girls feel like they are as supported as any team on campus. They in turn feel a deep desire to uphold a standard that would make previous teams and their community proud.
What led you to choose teaching and coaching as your profession? Who are some mentors that have help you become the coach you are today?
My desire to be an educator was passed down to me from my parents, who were both long time educators. My father, Joe Green, coached at Harrisonburg High School from 1959-68. He had me in gyms and coliseums from the time I could walk. My mother Emmilee Green was a Home Economics teacher at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport for 20 years. Their dedication to the teaching profession added to my love of all sports made teaching and coaching choice for me. Then in 1994 I got a chance to coach under Sidney Smith and Donnie Quinn, as a first year teacher at WMHS. I was in heaven learning from two legendary basketball coaches in Louisiana history.
Do you have any advice to a younger coach in terms of what makes a good coach?
Always temper criticism with kindness—In my younger years, I was quick to anger and, at times, lose my cool over the smallest detail. As I’ve matured as a coach, I’ve learned that different players need motivation in different ways. What works for one will bring down another player.
Care about your player as much in the classroom as you do with their performance on court—no player wants to feel as if she is important only on the court. Players should know that you care about what’s going on at home, in the classroom, as well as at practice and in games.
Never stop learning your craft—No one wants to feel as if he or she is professionally “on an island”. Learn from others, collaborate, study the game, and always strive to be innovative.
I ask this question to all the coaches I interview. What do you feel are some ways that Louisiana can improve the girls basketball moving forward? What do you feel really works and made you glad to be a coach in Louisiana?
One way girls basketball can continue to improve is to provide avenues for coaches to learn from each other and support each other. It is so important that all girls coaches are involved in the coaches association. I love the balance across the state in all classifications. It doesn’t matter if you’re class 5A or class B, there are great games being played at all classifications. Size of school doesn’t dictate the greatness of a girls’ basketball team. Regardless of class size, you better have your kids ready to play in this state.
What would you like to see implemented to assist young girls develop prior to high school? What are things middle school kids need to know or should be working on to prepare for the high school level?
For 8 years, Debra Creech was a middle school coach at one of our feeder schools. She was a legend and arguably one of the best developers of middle school talent in the state. Everyday for three years in their basketball PE class they perfected their form, practiced dribbling drills, worked their opposite hand, executed defensive drills, and worked on press break!!! Fundamentals are critical and can’t be practiced enough during the middle school years.
What are things that can take us (Louisiana girls basketball) to another level?
Support from fans and student bodies create an environment of excitement. We have been lucky to play in some of the most electric atmospheres, but they are typically during district play and towards the end of the year. Players and coaches would love to see more games well attended to help support, cheer on, and in some cases, change the dynamic of the game, throughout the entire season. Memorable environments change games and make players want to play the game.
What is something you hope your kids carry on with them throughout their lives after leaving your program?
If my players only remember one thing from me it’s that life will not always be smooth sailing. There will be adversity and how they choose to attack adversity and hard times will determine their path and success in life. Always work to overcome adversity. Anything they learn from me after that is just extra.