“Right Where I Need to be”

by | Sep 2022

WHEN WE tell the story of our lives, it is not solely about us. When we tell the story of our successes, our triumphs, and even our failures, it involves more than just ourselves. There are a whole cast of folks who show up throughout our story. Folks who have helped, inspired, challenged, and even those who might have carried us when we weren’t able to continue on by ourselves.

Our story is filled with these people and without them our story is incomplete. They are essential to our story and make it the beautiful experience that life is.

Coffee County High School (CCHS) football coach Doug Greene understands this well. He credits those people, mentors, fellow coaches, people in the community, and his players with help in molding him into the successful coach that he is, because it’s not just in wins and championships that he has been successful. It is in compassion, understanding, determination, dedication, and love that he has gained through others that has also made him a successful coach.

On a muggy afternoon, reprieve is givenby the air conditioning of the field house at CCHS. In his office, Greene takes a seat in his chair surrounded by trophies, plaques and pictures of past wins, and most importantly, past players. He points to each one, smiling as if each player was his own. He has a special memory of each photograph and a story about how it made him a better coach by being a part of that program.

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

As odd as it may seem to those who know him, Greene didn’t grow up with grand dreams of coaching sports. While he played several sports, that included baseball and football, the idea of coaching would not become a reality until he became a student at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).

When I was in college, I played football and baseball for two years in Jackson, Mississippi and then transferred to MTSU and finished up with baseball,” he explained. “I was approached my sophomore year [and informed] that there was a private school, right off the campus, that needed help with their eighth-grade team. I coached the defense and realized then, that I had an aptitude for it. We won our conference, and they were so happy. And I had a good time with it even though I obviously had some really long hours. I had school, then I had my practice and their practice. But I realized that that’s probably what I was going to do. Prior to that, I thought I was going to be a lawyer.”

He then realized he wanted to be around good coaches and make quality connections that would help him grow as a coach. Over the years, Greene would find himself amongst great coaches who would do just that.

“I was fortunate at that time that I had coach [Steve] Peterson in my life,” he said. “He was the baseball coach at MTSU. He really supported me. There is a lot in me that he built into me. I was able to work with and be around some good coaches. I got blessed with being able to work with my old high school coach, Donnie Yates. He was my secondary coach in his high school and planted a seed of sorts. He realized that I knew what everyone was doing on the field. He pulled me aside and told me that I might be good at this coaching thing. I had some good people that just built things into me, and I appreciated them.”

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes

Over the years, he would coach on both the high school and collegiate levels alongside coaches that included Ron Crawfrod, Gary Rankin, Doug Matthews, Benny Monroe, and Ken Sparks, just to name a few. These are coaches that Greene said helped mold him into the coach he is today.

Now, with a coaching tenure that spans more than two decades, Greene has found his success not only on the field, but off the field as well.

“I’ve always felt like I wanted to take care of the whole player,” he said. “Yes, I want them to lift weights and be faster and know football, but I also want them to be successful in the classroom and to be able to hold down a job. Most importantly though, these guys are going to be husbands and dads, and the lessons you learn in football is that it ain’t about you, it’s about us. You are a part of a family and protecting that family.”

He’s also learned that it’s about making the most of what you’ve got.

“There is more than one way to win football games,” explained Greene. “For example, the University of Wisconsin wins a certain way, the University of Florida has their way and so does Alabama. It is not all 40-yard dashes. I noticed that for a long time and really appreciate it. People get in their minds that you have to have this certain type of player. But my job is to figure out what our kids do well and then put them in a position to be successful. It’s about winning with what you have. You’ve got to quit looking around at everyone else and focus on us and being the best version of us.”

As he suits up for the 100th year of football at CCHS, he does so with a staff, community, and group of players that he knows will help him continue to grow and continue his successful journey.

“The good Lord has put me in the right place and given me the experience that this is right where I need to be,” said Greene. GN

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