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Green, Dennis 1949–

Dennis Green 1949

Football coach

Excelled Despite Tragedy

Became Head Coach at Northwestern University

Improved Minnesota Vikings

Joined Arizona Cardinais

Selected writings

Sources

Dennis Green assumed head coaching responsibilities for the Minnesota Vikings early in 1992. Only the second black head coach in modern professional football, he brings a wealth of experience to the Vikings, a franchise in need of a strong leader. Few would argue that Greens ascent in the National Football League (NFL) has anything to do with his racehe has worked his entire professional life as either an assistant or head coach for a number of teams, including the difficult programs of Northwestern University and Stanford. His career includes long periods of association with legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh, and he is credited with developing the talents of future Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune reporter Steve Aschburner pointed out that Green is known as a hard worker and a fair man but one who expects most of a players motivation to come from within. And he has a habit of taking on tasks that others might have considered overwhelming.

A high-energy, hardworking optimist, Green predicted that he would take the lackluster Vikings to the 1992 playoffs, and he did just that. Aschburner noted: If Dennis Green were a doctor, he would work in an intensive care unit. The man has shown an ability, and a willingness, to pump life into the most ailing, weakened football operations. Where others might have pulled plugs, he has ordered transfusions. Only St. Jude has taken on more lost causes than Green. And San Jose Mercury News correspondent Nancy Gay maintained that Green is absolutely consumed by the Herculean job he [was] hired to dowhipping the Vikings, a legendary band of underachieving malcontents, into contenders.

For his own part, Green told the San Jose Mercury News that he sees no task as impossible, especially in football. Very few guys think theres a job they cant do. No matter how big the obstacles, he said. If theres one way to sum up myself, I just like to get the job done. I dont care if Im coaching receivers or whatever, Im going to take the responsibility to make sure our guys do right. Asked about how his race has shaped his career, Green told the Star Tribune: I dont think anybody considers me a black coach. I dont think a player is concerned what my race is. I think he wants someone who will teach him something.

Excelled Despite Tragedy

I see challenges, even problems, as opportunities, Green explained in the Star Tribune. Even the most overwhelming coaching obstacles seem insignificant to a man who has experienced some of lifes more lasting misfortunes. Green was born and raised in a blue-collar section of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His father was a postal worker and his mother a beautician. We didnt live in the projects, he remembered, but we lived where people who had just moved from the projects lived. Tragedy struck when Green was still a boy. His father died of a ruptured appendix in 1960, and thenonly two years laterhis mother succumbed to cancer.

At a Glance

Born on February 17, 1949, in Harrisburg, PA; son of Penrose (a postal worker) and Anna (a beautician) Green; married Margie Shindler, c. 1967; children: Patti, Jeremy. Education: University of Iowa, BS, 1971.

Career: Professional player/coach, British Columbia Lions (Canadian Football League), 1971; worked for a sheet metal shop in Iowa City and as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Iowa, 1972; running backs and receivers coach, University of Dayton, 1973; receivers coach, University of Iowa, 1974-76; running backs coach, Stanford University, 1977-78; special teams coach, San Francisco 49ers, 1979; offensive coordinator, Stanford University, 1980; head coach, Northwestern University, 1981-85; wide receivers coach, San Francisco 49ers, 1986-88; head coach, Stanford University, 1989-92; head coach, Minnesota Vikings, 1992-2002; head coach, Arizona Cardinals, 2004.

Awards: Named Big Ten Coach of the Year, 1982; Sports Illustrated, Coach of the Year, 1998; World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, Community Coach of the Year, 2001.

Addresses: Office Arizona Cardinals, 8701 South Hardy Drive, Tempe, Arizona 85284-2800.

Even though he lost both parents by the time he was thirteen, Green carried their lessons of integrity and discipline with him into adulthood. He told the Star Tribune that his father was a special guy who was his own man. I dont think there was ever a time when he felt like he was going to take any crap out of anybody. Id say he had a lot of pride in that. His pride always came first.

For the remainder of his school years, Green lived with an older brother who left the U.S. Air Force in order to care for the family. By that time, football was a strong lure for Green. He recalled in the Star Tribune that he admired the players who were ahead of him in school and sought to be like them. Everybody respected them, he said. In contrast to all the guys who talked a good game, they actually went to practice. They were doing something significant. When he joined the varsity squad at John Harris High School, he added, the coaches instilled the love of football in me. They said, This is football and were going to do this better than anybody. It didnt matter whose dad had a job and whose didnt. It didnt matter if you could afford new clothes. We were a football team.

Football competition is especially fierce in central Pennsylvania, and college recruiters find it a fertile talent pool. Green was recruited by Frank Gilliam, a football staff member from the University of Iowa who went on to become director of player personnel for the Minnesota Vikings. Asked to describe the teenaged Dennis Green for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Gilliam noted that the future coach was a hard-nosed, tough slashing running back whose personality was straight forward and eager. Playing football was very important to him. Even as a youth, Green perceived that he would have opportunities denied his grandfather and father, and even his older brothers. Im a product of the 60s. I graduated from high school in 1967. It wasa window of opportunity. If you were a black athlete and you took care of business, you could go to school anywhere you wanted. Green told Rick Telander in Sports Illustrated. Green made the most of that window of opportunity at each step of his career.

Green was a three-year starter for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, playing two seasons at tailback and one at flanker. Gilliam, who was Iowas assistant coach during those years, told the Star Tribune: [Green] blocked, he ran, he was real versatile. I cant say I knew then hed be a coach, but he approached the game real seriously. Green graduated from Iowa in 1971 with a degree in recreation education. His only stint as a professional football player came later that year with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. Even there he showed his budding talents for coaching. He left the Lions after one season.

Green returned to the University of Iowa as a volunteer graduate assistant to the football program. To support his wife and two children, he took a full-time job driving a truck for a sheet metal business. By 1973 he landed a paying post within collegiate football that made other work unnecessary. He became coach of running backs and receivers at the University of Dayton. After a year there, he went back to Iowa, this time as receivers coach.

In 1977 Green was invited to join the football coaching staff at Stanford University. The head coach at that time was Bill Walsh, a man who would soon become world-famous for his work with the San Francisco 49ers. Even in his Stanford days, Walsh was careful to surround himself with people who were as dedicated and hardworking as he was. He and Green worked very well togetherso well that when Walsh was called to coach the 49ers in 1979, he took Green along to lead the special teams unit. At the tender age of thirtyyounger, indeed, than some of the playersGreen found himself coaching in the NFL.

Became Head Coach at Northwestern University

Greater responsibilities beckoned Green back to the college ranks in 1980. He became offensive coordinator at Stanford under Paul Wiggin, serving in that position for one year. In 1981, Green was offered his first head coaching job. Northwestern University, a school that hadnt won a conference game in five years, presented the challenge of a lifetime to the fledgling coach. As part of the Big Ten, hapless Northwestern played regularly against football giants like the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois. Green was realistic: he knew he could not turn Northwestern into a giant, but he saw room in the program for vast improvement. He accepted the job and became the first black coach in Big Ten history.

When Green arrived at Northwestern, the team had won only three of its last 75 games. In his first year coaching the team, Northwestern continued its losing ways, but in 1982 he guided the squad to three victories. That feat was enough to earn him the Big Ten coach of the year award in 1982. His fellow Big Ten coaches saw in Northwesterns modest gains nothing less than a major turnaround. And while Green was not able to build further on those gains, he did bring Northwestern more victories in his five seasons there than the team had in recent history. By the end of the 1985 season Northwestern had a 10-45 record under Green.

Walsh beckoned Green back to the professional ranks in 1986. Green rejoined the 49ers, this time as wide receivers coach. Walsh had one prospect in particular that he wanted Green to tutora young player named Jerry Rice. St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Ray Richardson noted that Green played a key role in the development of one of the best wide receivers ever to wear an NFL uniform, namely Rice. Green and Rice worked together closely, and Rice leaped into national notoriety for his stellar performance in the 49ers offense. I would say he taught me everything I know, Rice recalled in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. When he told me something I was doing wrong, it was only because he wanted me to get better, and its paying off for me now.

In 1989, Stanford University offered Green the head coaching job that had once been Walshs. The salary for the three-year contract was reported to be $200,000 per year. San Jose Mercury News correspondent Mark Purdy heralded Greens choice as the best for Stanford and added: Here is an intelligent, glib, 39-year-old whos had the world by the tail for most of his life. Green doesnt deserve this job because hes black. He deserves this job because his background proves hes capable of handling any mine field you can erect in his path. During his first months on the job, Green was faced with a player revolt that had ousted his predecessor, demands by disgruntled alumni, and challenges to find top-rank players who could satisfy Stanfords tough admission requirements. He also had to assemble a staff of nine assistantsall before his team played a single game.

Similarities abound between the programs at Northwestern and Stanford. Both colleges put a premium on academics, allowing only the best scholar-athletes to attend. Even so they attract promising players who can, under the right guidance, perform at high levels. Green let it be known at Stanford that he expected top-level play from his team. Slowly the Cardinals began to improve. After finishing 3-8 in 1989, they went 5-6 in 1990 and 8-4 in 1991. Green became a bona fide Stanford hero, loved by the players and the fans alike.

Greens success in California did not go unnoticed. NFL front office personnel in search of new coaches realized that he had proven himself as a motivator and that he had learned coaching techniques from possibly the best source available in the 1980s, Bill Walsh. One such NFL manager was Minnesota Vikings president Roger Headrick. The Vikings presented a special challenge at the dawn of 1992. Once a young, aggressive team, the players had aged and become cynical. Newcomers were overlooked on a squad heavy with All-Pro talent. Sports Illustrated contributor Paul Zimmerman declared that former coach Jerry Burns had allowed a creeping lethargy to envelop the team. Having finished 8-8 in 1991, the Vikings did not make the playoffs.

Improved Minnesota Vikings

Green took over as head coach of the Vikings on January 10, 1992. His four-year contract with an option for a fifth year paid an estimated $350,000 the first year with significant raises for future seasons. Wasting no time, Green initiated tougher training regimes and stern lectures about substance abuse and attitude problems among his players. He maintained that the Vikings could reach the playoffs if they worked hard. He traded a few established stars and gave younger players opportunities. As his first season drew to a close with a much-anticipated wild card playoff game, Green told the San Jose Mercury News that he and his staff were going to run a tight ship. We werent going to allow three guys to project the wrong image for the 45 other players.

The Vikings became an exciting team again under Green. Their schedule brought them into conflict with Greens former team, the 49ersand a coach who had worked with Green thereas well as with the Green Bay Packers, headed by another former Green associate, Mike Holmgren. Many observers felt that the Vikings strong showing of 11 victories and five losses for the regular season was due in large part to the standards set and enforced by Green. More than anything else Greens emotional, tough-but-fair style of management is what has turned around the Vikings, commented Telander.

In the 1992 playoffs, the Vikings met the Washington Redskins and were favored to win the wild card game. Unfortunately, Green and his team found themselves outplayed by a seasoned Redskins unit that won 24-7. Knocked out of the playoffs early, the Vikings still have much to be optimistic about for the future. Sports analysts agreed that Greens abundant energy and proficient football knowledge would give Minnesota a needed catalyst in its run for the 1993 Super Bowl. Vikings tight end Steve Jordan told the San Jose Mercury News: When [Green] came in, he was very focused on what he wanted to have happen. One thing hes really helped us to do is focus on whats happening on the field, focus on winning games.

Dennis Green is perceived as a workaholic who spends long hours overseeing every aspect of his teams performance. His wife, Margie, told the San Jose Mercury News that Green thinks sleep is a waste of time, and he only does it because he needs to. Few people in any business take their responsibilities more seriously than does Green. The coach noted in the Star Tribune: Weve got our work cut out for us, but were making some inroads, because people are starting to talk about the Vikings again on a positive note. Its my job to make sure if we say were going to do something, we do it.

Within a decade Green had certainly improved the Viking football franchise. He made himself the winningest Viking coach since Bed Grant led the team to four Superbowls. During Greens tenure the Vikings had 97 wins and 62 losses, four NFC Central titles, and eight times qualified for the playoffs. But after losing seven games in 2002 the Minnesota Vikings replaced Green with his assistant, Mike Tice, and Green began looking for a new job. The change of events didnt deter Green from his hard-charging work mentality. He left without complaint, saying My hand is on the plow and the best thing when your hand is on the plow is to look forward, according to the NFL Web site.

Joined Arizona Cardinais

After spending a brief period as sports analyst for ESPN and columnist of Sidelines for the Del Mar Times (California), Green found a new challenge with the Arizona Cardinals when he signed a four-year contract as head coach in 2004. The Cardinals had hovered in the bottom third of the NFL ranks for nearly 30 years. Green considered the teams poor record as a real point of interest. The attraction of Arizona for Denny is that the Cardinals organization has had trouble winning and now a lot of people dont expect them to start winning, Greens agent Gary OHagan told the Associated Press according to the Sports Illustrated Web site. Green outlined a plan of action for the Cardinals that really impressed team management. The Cardinals football operations vice president Rod Graves told the Associated Press as quoted in USA Today that Dennis is such a dynamic person and had such a thorough and detailed plan of where he wanted to go and what we were looking for, the precise things. We felt like there were certain things that we need to address in getting this team forward, andwithout any forewarning from us as to what those things werethose elements were part of his plan. Green formally joined the Cardinals on January 9, 2004. And Green immediately set about cultivating his new teams winning spirit, based on his idea that winners are made, not born. Given that Green is in the top ten of the NFLs winningest coaches of all time, the Cardinals may not languish in the lower echelon of the NFL for much longer.

Selected writings

(With Gene McGivern) Dennis Green: No Room for Crybabies, Sports Pub., 1997.

Sources

Periodicals

Newsweek, November 23, 1992, pp. 67-8.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 11,1992, pp. 1A and 1C; September 3, 1992, p. 1C; September 6, 1992, p. 1C; December 10, 1992, p. IF; December 13, 1992, p. 1C.

San Jose Mercury News, March 25, 1986, p. IF; January 4, 1989, p. 1C; January 8, 1989, p. ID; December 13, 1992, p. ID.

Sports Illustrated, September 24, 1992, p. 24; December 14, 1992, p. 33.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul), January 11, 1992, p. 4C; January 12, 1992, p. 1C; April 10, 1992, p. 1C; September 6, 1992, p. 7C; December 12, 1992, p. 1C.

USA Today, January 7, 2004.

On-line

Dennis Green, www.dennisgreen.com (June 3, 2004).

NFL, www.nfl.com (June 3, 2004).

Sports Illustrated, www.si.com (June 3, 2004).

Tom and Sara Pendergast

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Green, Dennis 1949–

Dennis Green 1949

Professional football coach

At a Glance

Taking the Game Seriously

Rising in the Ranks

Into the Limelight with the Vikings

Sources

Dennis Green assumed head coaching responsibilities for the Minnesota Vikings early in 1992. Only the second black head coach in modern professional football, he brings a wealth of experience to the Vikings, a franchise in need of a strong leader. Few would argue that Greens ascent in the National Football League (NFL) has anything to do with his racehe has worked his entire professional life as either an assistant or head coach for a number of teams, including the difficult programs of Northwestern University and Stanford. His career includes long periods of association with legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh, and he is credited with developing the talents of future Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune reporter Steve Aschburner pointed out that Green is known as a hard worker and a fair man but one who expects most of a players motivation to come from within And he has a habit of taking on tasks that others might have considered overwhelming.

A high-energy, hardworking optimist, Green predicted that he would take the lackluster Vikings to the 1992 playoffs, and he did just that. Aschburner noted:If Dennis Green were a doctor, he would work in an intensive care unit. The man has shown an ability, and a willingness, to pump life into the most ailing, weakened football operations. Where others might have pulled plugs, he has ordered transfusions. Only St. Jude has taken on more lost causes than Green. And San Jose Mercury News correspondent Nancy Gay maintained that Green is absolutely consumed by the Herculean job he [was] hired to dowhipping the Vikings, a legendary band of underachieving malcontents, into contenders.

For his own part, Green told the San Jose Mercury News that he sees no task as impossible, especially in football. Very few guys think theres a job they cant do. No matter how big the obstacles, he said. If theres one way to sum up myself, I just like to get the job done. I dont care if Im coaching receivers or whatever, Im going to take the responsibility to make sure our guys do right. Asked about how his race has shaped his career, Green told the Star Tribune: I dont think anybody considers me a black coach. I dont think a player is concerned what my race is. I think he wants someone who will teach him something.

I see challenges, even problems, as opportunities, Green explained in the Star Tribune. Even the most overwhelming coaching obstacles seem insignificant to a man who has experienced some of lifes more lasting misfortunes. Green

At a Glance

Born February 17, 1949, in Harrisburg, PA; son of Penrose (a postal worker) and Anna (a beautician) Green; married Margie Shindler, c.1967; children: Patti, Jeremy. Education University of lowa, B.S., 1971.

Professional player/coach, British Columbia Lions (Canadian Football League), 1971; worked for a sheet metal shop in iowa City and as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of iowa, 1972; running backs and receivers coach, University of 1973; receivers coach, University of iowa, 1974-76; running backs coach, Stanford University, 1977-78; special teams coach, San Francisco 49ers, 1979; offensive coordinator, Stanford University, 1980; head coach, Northwestern University, 1981-85; wide receivers coach, San Francisco 49ers, 1986-88; head coach, Stanford University, 1989-92; head coach, Minnesota Vikings, 1992.

Head coaching record: 10-45 at Northwestern, 16-18 at Stanford, 11-5 at Vikings (1992 regular season).

Selected awards: Named Big Ten Coach of the Year 1982.

Addresses: Office Minnesota Vikings, 9520 Viking Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.

was born and raised in a blue-collar section of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His father was a postal worker and his mother a beautician. We didnt live in the projects, he remembered, but we lived where people who had just moved from the projects lived. Tragedy struck when Green was still a boy. His father died of a ruptured appendix in 1960, and then only two years laterhis mother succumbed to cancer.

Even though he lost both parents by the time he was thirteen, Green carried their lessons of integrity and discipline with him into adulthood. He told the Star Tribune that his father was a special guy who was his own man. I dont think there was ever a time when he felt like he was going to take any crap out of anybody. Id say he had a lot of pride in that His pride always came first.

Taking the Game Seriously

For the remainder of his school years, Green lived with an older brother who left the U.S. Air Force in order to care for the family. By that time, football was a strong lure for Green. He recalled in the Star Tribune that he admired the players who were ahead of him in school and sought to be like them. Everybody respected them, he said. In contrast to all the guys who talked a good game, they actually went to practice. They were doing something significant. When he joined the varsity squad at John Harris High School, he added, the coaches instilled the love of football in me. They said, This is football and were going to do this better than anybody. It didnt matter whose dad had a job and whose didnt. It didnt matter if you could afford new clothes. We were a football team.

Football competition is especially fierce in central Pennsylvania, and college recruiters find it a fertile talent pool. Green was recruited by Frank Gilliam, a football staff member from the University of iowa who went on to become director of player personnel for the Minnesota Vikings. Asked to describe the teenaged Dennis Green for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Gilliam noted that the future coach was a hard-nosed, tough slashing running back whose personality was straight forward and eager. Playing football was very important to him. Even as a youth, Green perceived that he would have opportunities denied his grandfather and father, and even his older brothers. Im a product of the 60s. I graduated from high school in 1967 It was a window of opportunity. If you were a black athlete and you took care of business, you could go to school anywhere you wanted. Green told Rick Telander in Sports Illustrated. Green made the most of that window of opportunity at each step of his career.

Green was a three-year starter for the University of iowa Hawkeyes, playing two seasons at tailback and one at flanker. Gilliam, who was Iowas assistant coach during those years, told the Star Tribune: [Green] blocked, he ran, he was real versatile. I cant say I knew then hed be a coach, but he approached the game real seriously. Green graduated from Iowa in 1971 with a degree in recreation education. His only stint as a professional football player came later that year with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. Even there he showed his budding talents for coaching. He left the Lions after one season.

Rising in the Ranks

Green returned to the University of Iowa as a volunteer graduate assistant to the football program. To support his wife and two children, he took a full-time job driving a truck for a sheet metal business. By 1973 he landed a paying post within collegiate football that made other work unnecessary. He became coach of running backs and receivers at the University of Dayton. After a year there, he went back to Iowa, this time as receivers coach.

In 1977 Green was invited to join the football coaching staff at Stanford University. The head coach at that time was Bill Walsh, a man who would soon become world-famous for his work with the San Francisco 49ers. Even in his Stanford days, Walsh was careful to surround himself with people who were as dedicated and hardworking as he was. He and Green worked very well togetherso well that when Walsh was called to coach the 49ers in 1979, he took Green along to lead the special teams unit. At the tender age of thirtyyounger, indeed, than some of the playersGreen found himself coaching in the NFL.

Greater responsibilities beckoned Green back to the college ranks in 1980. He became offensive coordinator at Stanford under Paul Wiggin, serving in that position for one year. In 1981, Green was offered his first head coaching job. Northwestern University, a school that hadnt won a conference game in five years, presented the challenge of a lifetime to the fledgling coach. As part of the Big Ten, hapless Northwestern played regularly against football giants like the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois. Green was realistic: he knew he could not turn Northwestern into a giant, but he saw room in the program for vast improvement. He accepted the job and became the first black coach in Big Ten history.

When Green arrived at Northwestern, the team had won only three of its last 75 games. In his first year coaching the team, Northwestern continued its losing ways, but in 1982 he guided the squad to three victories. That feat was enough to earn him the Big Ten coaches of the year award in 1982. His fellow Big Ten coaches saw in Northwesterns modest gains nothing less than a major turnaround. And while Green was not able to build further on those gains, he did bring Northwestern more victories in his five seasons there than the team had in recent history. By the end of the 1985 season Northwestern had a 10-45 record under Green.

Walsh beckoned Green back to the professional ranks in 1986. Green rejoined the 49ers, this time as wide receivers coach. Walsh had one prospect in particular that he wanted Green to tutora young player named Jerry Rice. St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Ray Richardson noted that Green played a key role in the development of one of the best wide receivers ever to wear an NFL uniform, namely Rice. Green and Rice worked together closely, and Rice leaped into national notoriety for his stellar performance in the 49ers offense. I would say he taught me everything I know, Rice recalled in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. When he told me something I was doing wrong, it was only because he wanted me to get better, and its paying off for me now.

In 1989, Stanford University offered Green the head coaching job that had once been Walshs. The salary for the three-year contract was reported to be $200,000 per year. San Jose Mercury News correspondent Mark Purdy heralded Greens choice as the best for Stanford and added: Here is an intelligent, glib, 39-year-old whos had the world by the tail for most of his life Green doesnt deserve this job because hes black. He deserves this job because his background proves hes capable of handling any mine field you can erect in his path. During his first months on the job, Green was faced with a player revolt that had ousted his predecessor, demands by disgruntled alumni, and challenges to find top-rank players who could satisfy Stanfords tough admission requirements. He also had to assemble a staff of nine assistantsall before his team played a single game.

Similarities abound between the programs at Northwestern and Stanford. Both colleges put a premium on academics, allowing only the best scholar-athletes to attend. Even so they attract promising players who can, under the right guidance, perform at high levels. Green let it be known at Stanford that he expected top-level play from his team. Slowly the Cardinals began to improve. After finishing 3-8 in 1989, they went 5-6 in 1990 and 8-4 in 1991. Green became a bona fide Stanford hero, loved by the players and the fans alike.

Into the Limelight with the Vikings

Greens success in California did not go unnoticed. NFL front office personnel in search of new coaches realized that he had proven himself as a motivator and that he had learned coaching techniques from possibly the best source available in the 1980s, Bill Walsh. One such NFL manager was Minnesota Vikings president Roger Headrick. The Vikings presented a special challenge at the dawn of 1992. Once a young, aggressive team, the players had aged and become cynical. Newcomers were overlooked on a squad heavy with All-Pro talent. Sports Illustrated contributor Paul Zimmerman declared that former coach Jerry Burns had allowed a creeping lethargy to envelop the team. Having finished 8-8 in 1991, the Vikings did not make the playoffs.

Green took over as head coach of the Vikings on January 10, 1992. His four-year contract with an option for a fifth year paid an estimated $350,000 the first year with significant raises for future seasons. Wasting no time, Green initiated tougher training regimes and stern lectures about substance abuse and attitude problems among his players. He maintained that the Vikings could reach the playoffs if they worked hard. He traded a few established stars and gave younger players opportunities. As his first season drew to a close with a much-anticipated wild card playoff game, Green told the San Jose Mercury News that he and his staff were going to run a tight ship. We werent going to allow three guys to going to allow three guys project the wrong image for the 45 other players.

The Vikings became an exciting team again under Green. Their schedule brought them into conflict with Greens former team, the 49ersand a coach who had worked with Green thereas well as with the Green Bay Packers, headed by another former Green associate, Mike Holmgren. Many observers felt that the Vikings strong showing of 11 victories and five losses for the regular season was due in large part to the standards set and enforced by Green. More than anything else Greens emotional, tough-but-fair style of management is what has turned around the Vikings, commented Telander.

In the 1992 playoffs, the Vikings met the Washington Redskins and were favored to win the wild card game. Unfortunately, Green and his team found themselves outplayed by a seasoned Redskins unit that won 24-7. Knocked out of the playoffs early, the Vikings still have much to be optimistic about for the future. Sports analysts agree that Greens abundant energy and proficient football knowledge will give Minnesota a needed catalyst in its run for the 1993 Super Bowl. Vikings tight end Steve Jordan told the San Jose Mercury News: When [Green] came in, he was very focused on what he wanted to have happen. One thing hes really helped us to do is focus on whats happening on the field, focus on winning games.

Dennis Green is perceived as a workaholic who spends long hours overseeing every aspect of his teams performance. His wife, Margie, told the San Jose Mercury News that Green thinks sleep is a waste of time, and he only does it because he needs to. Few people in any business take their responsibilities more seriously than does Green. The coach noted in the Star Tribune: Weve got our work cut out for us, but were making some inroads, because people are starting to talk about the Vikings again on a positive note Its my job to make sure if we say were going to do something, we do it.

Sources

Newsweek, November 23, 1992, pp. 67-68.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 11, 1992, pp. 1A and 1C; September 3,1992, p. 1C; September 6,1992, p. 1C; December 10, 1992, p. 1F; December 13, 1992, p. 1C.

San Jose Mercury News, March 25, 1986, p. 1F; January 4, 1989, p. 1C; January 8, 1989, p. 1D; December 13, 1992, p. 1D.

Sports Illustrated, September 24, 1992, p. 24; December 14, 1992, p. 33.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul), January 11, 1992, p. 4C; January 12, 1992, p. 1C; April 10,1992, p. 1C; September 6,1992, p. 7C; December 12,1992, p. 1C.

Mark Kram

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"Green, Dennis 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Green, Dennis 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/green-dennis-1949

"Green, Dennis 1949–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/green-dennis-1949