A Western Carolina University alumni, former Catamount coach, and current head volleyball coach for the University of Alabama, Judy Green, will be retiring on July 01, 2011, after 14 years and 15 seasons with The Crimson Tide. With the upcoming milestone in her career approaching fast, Green took time to remember where it all started here at Western Carolina University.
Green first graduated from Western in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Education; she enjoyed learning about physical education during her undergraduate studies and then pursed a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in physical education and graduated from Western for the second time in 1985.
Currently a resident of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Green once lived in what used to be Helder Hall, which is where the new dining hall, the Courtyard, stands today. While at Western, Green lettered in 12 varsity sports and is the only athlete in WCU history, male or female, to ever do so.
While at Western, Green had numerous professors to influence her and shape her professional career. Among the many are Dr. Spiker, who Green described as being a “phenomenal role model” due in large part because of being the most physically fit person Green has ever known, and Dr. Pilch who Green declared as the most memorable professor of her college career. She boasted about his effective teaching methods when it came to learning the impossible in kinesiology and joked about naming the skeleton she used in class “Little P” to honor Dr. Pilch.
College is a memorable time for everyone; Green still has a ton of memories that she often relives. The majority of the memories Green holds dear about her days as a Catamount begin with her experiences with her volleyball, basketball, and softball teammates. Green said, “It was not the on court or on field memories that stand out, but the ones off the playing areas.” Some of Green’s and her teammates’ favorite local hot spots were Speedy’s Pizza and Bear Lake, where they would spend Saturday nights repelling off the cliffs. The friends she found in her teammates during her days at Western are still some of her best friends; she credits the respect they had for one another, their friendships and “true team chemistry” in general for being the “secret to our success.”
Two events stand out to Green as being the most memorable times she had in college; the first being in 1983 when her team won the Southern Conference Volleyball Championship, for which she was named MVP, and the second being when former Coach Bob Waters personally asked her to be the head tennis and cross country coach as well as the assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. WCU is where Green began her coaching career when she served as the assistant coach for the volleyball team in 1984, and then the assistant softball coach, and head cross country coach in 1985 before she finally traded in the Purple and Gold in 1986, when she left Western for the head volleyball coach position at the University of Montevallo.
Green still holds several athletic titles and records today; a few of the many include: Southern Conference Volleyball Player of the Decade for the 1980s, one of the top 20 highest career scorers for women’s basketball, scoring more than 1,000 points in her career, member of the Southern Conference Basketball Team of the Decade for the 1980s, All-American shortstop, the very first female to ever be inducted into WCU’s Hall of Fame, and WCU’s Female Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s.
Aside from being active in collegiate sports year round, Green was also extremely active in Western’s intramural program; during her time at Western she earned the title of Intramural Champion in various sports such as badminton, soccer, and co-ed inner tube water polo, Green teased, “and let me tell you, Reid Pool was rocking when the Sharks and the Finns took the pool for a “friendly” game of inner tube water polo!”
Green thankfully explained that every experience she has at Western prepared her to coach at the collegiate level. She was mentored by what she described as being “some of the greatest coaches, who were also great people.” Green spoke of her former coaches, Trish Howell and Betty Peele, as being the inspiration behind being able to teach the game she loved so much. She explained that “their sacrifices on a daily basis taught me how to believe in myself even more than I did before I arrived at WCU.” Instead of remembering how busy playing three sports kept her, the optimistic Green explained that the diversity allowed her to take on a perspective of balance which she has since implemented in her life. She also credits the first hand experience with sports she gained from being a Catamount has enabled her to show student-athletes how to enjoy life and utilize their talents.
Green’s last visit to Western was nearly a decade ago when she spoke at her high school alma mater’s (Tuscola High School) 2001 graduation, which was held in the Ramsey Center. Even though some time has passed since her last visit, and tremendous changes have just recently occurred, Green believes that the biggest change Western has experienced is in the evolution of the campus. Even after traveling to numerous colleges throughout her coaching career, Green declared, “It [WCU campus] still is one of the most beautiful schools in North Carolina.”
The successful Catamount and Roll Tide coach had one piece of advice to offer future and current Catamounts: “Do what you love to do and do what is in your heart. Life is too short to not do what makes you happy, but there will have to be sacrifices made along the way, and you must be willing to make sacrifices and stay the course.”
With a 14 year run with the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide Volleyball team coming to an end, Green predicts endless possibilities for the future; she expects to pursue another collegiate level coaching/teaching position, and has even welcomed the possibility of taking six months off to re-evaluate her professional goals before choosing the next course, and said, “but I most likely expect the course will choose me.”
Wherever the future takes Green, and whatever it may hold for her, she can always be certain that she has a home here amongst fellow Catamounts, who are both proud of and inspired by her past success and wish her all the best in future endeavors.