Long-time Mexico High School teacher and coach Bucky Green was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Dec. 5. Green joined approximately 80 members of the Northeast Missouri State College (now Truman State University) football teams of 1969, 1970 and 1971 for the ceremony in Kirksville. There were also eight individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
Each inductee received a plaque and a medal.
Green was a member of the 1969 and 1970 teams. He walked on to the team after a team member urged him to come to practice. "I had transferred from Hannibal-LaGrange College in the spring, and a guy mentioned I should come to spring ball practice," Green said. "I had no intention of playing in any college athletics after participating in track and field at Hannibal-LaGrange. I thought my career as an athlete was over."
However, Green had grown three inches and gained 30 pounds after high school, so he decided to give college football a try. His previous football experience was at Hannibal High School, where he also participated in track and field before graduating in 1966.
"I walked on to the college team, and had two really good years," Green said. "It became a life-changing, life-building experience."
Green took his experience as an athlete and applied it to more than 40 years of successful high school coaching. "Not a day goes by that I don't think back to those college experiences," he said. "There was great camaraderie no matter if you were a star or just a guy on the team. It was physical and emotional, and a great life lesson. My experience has helped me understand the students and have more empathy toward them."
Green said he had great coaches in college, and that their diverse coaching styles helped form his style. "I think a person has a tendency to coach as they were coached," he said. "I had very good coaches. There was the screamer and curser and the calm gentleman coach. Both were very successful. I tried to take away the best of both."
Green also credits three coaching peers, Ron Whittaker, Darriel Douglas and Steve Minnick, with teaching him about coaching. "I'm really into positive coaching," he said. "I don't think you need to be disrespectful; there's a better way to do it."
While he originally went into teaching to become a coach, Green said it didn't take too many years for him to realize he enjoyed teaching as much as coaching. "Athletics are wonderful for teaching the other things in life," he said.
He taught primarily world history, but also taught American history, psychology and sociology. Green's coaching assignments included varsity cross country for 23 years, boys and girls track, varsity football, ninth and seventh grade football and middle school cross country.