Mexico Track and Field and Cross Country coach Don "Buck" Green has spent close to a half of a century helping the next generation of Bulldog athletes excel at running sports at every level and he certainly doesn't do it for the recognition.
In fact he's so reserved about his accomplishments that despite being inducted into the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame on Dec. 7 he still hasn't been willing to talk about all that he's been able to achieve, but fortunately some of those who know him best are.
"Coach Green is a Class Act of track and field competition, but also is invaluable as he builds relationships with student athletes that connect into lifelong friendships," said Mexico Athletic Director Jeff Anderson. "Coach Green was a teacher in the Mexico 59 School District for 33 Years. (He was a) Coach in Cross Country and Track for 47 years and Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leader for 47 years. He has been a Coach of Character for his tenure in Mexico."
During his time as the Lady Bulldogs head track coach the team placed second in the state in 1989 after coming in third the year before in 1988. He also led the girls cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the state meet in 1996 as the highlight of a ten-year run of district titles from 1988-1997.
"Student athletes that compete in his programs become better athletes, but also become better people," Anderson said. "It was a great honor to be there to watch Coach Green be inducted into the Hall of Fame."
Green joined fellow Mexico track coaches Ron Whitaker and Mitch Ridgeway in the hall with this induction, which took place at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. For Whitaker his three Class 3A state titles came with the Mexico boys track team from 1975-77 while Ridgeway led the team to a Class 3A championship in 2001.
"We both sent in videos for this event. Lucas (Breneman) and I were former runners for Buck (myself in the 90's and Lucas in the early 2000's)," said Mexico Cross Country coach John Wilbers. "My brother and sister also ran for Buck in the 80's, so I've known Buck all my life and have always known him to be a man of true wit and wisdom, compassion and enthusiasm. Buck is one-of-a-kind. An amazing coach who's always done much more than just coach the sport. He coaches the athlete."
This year at the state track meet Mexico was represented by Jasean White in the Long Jump and Raef Yaeger in the High Jump for the boys. As for the girls it was Jennifer Jacobi who qualified to compete for a title in the long jump while Moenasia Sidique just barely missed out making the cut in the 400 with a time of 1:00.86.
"He has been a mentor to countless young people and a legend in Mexico. I learned many things from Buck over the years and was exceedingly proud to take over the Cross Country team from him in 2003 during his retirement," Wilbers said. "But of course, he couldn't stay away long. Buck continues to coach Middle School Cross Country (with his daughter Sarah Gleeson) and High School track, and helps out with out local cross country competitions. A well deserved honor."