Originally posted at: Nola.com
‘Coach Pro’ earns special AAU honor for 35 years of service.
In the midst of the final day of the AAU National Qualifier at Tad Gormley Stadium on Sunday, Coach Oliver “Pro” Green earned some special recognition for his more than three decades of work in youth track and field.
Green received the 35-year AAU Golden Service Award Pin at a brief ceremony during the meet. Green, who has coached track for 50 years, started the Press Park Track Club 35 years ago.
“We started the club with just some kids from the community, and it just grew and grew and grew,” he said. “Katrina came along and changed that so now, we’re based mainly most on the west bank. We still have New Orleans kids, but we’re mainly on the west bank.”
He was spurred to start the club to give children in the Desire area of New Orleans a chance to run track despite their sometimes limited budgets. Green said he started the club even before he became a father because he loves working with children.
“I like working with the kids, and over the years, we’ve put quite a few kids in college,” he said. “Today, my hurdlers came in first and third in the hurdles, and my 800 runner Rajane Morris came in first in the 800. Also, my 9-year-old girls shot put broke the meet record yesterday, so it’s been a fun meet.”
As for how and why he’s been coaching for so long, he said it’s the promise of helping the next big star develop that keeps him going.
“I tried to quit about six or seven times, but every time, there was this little 6-year-old that looked like she was going to be a superstar,” he said. “So I said I’d stay until she was 18, and then another would come up. The 6-year-olds keep me here.”
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