The Post-Journal

Green Takes Her Rising Star To Michigan

The phone rang at about 11:15 Wednesday night in the sports department of The Post-Journal.

I answered it figuring it was another one of the many baseball and softball reports we receive every evening.

I was wrong.

On the other end was the voice of one of the most pleasant, articulate and talented individuals I’ve had the pleasure to know in more than 18 years as a sports writer.

Kirsten Green, 26, is one of our area’s rising stars.

Pete Gaudet, a former assistant men’s basketball coach at Duke University, recognized it almost immediately after the Jamestown High School graduate found her way to Durham, N. C. in the fall of 1993.

In short order, Green became one of the Blue Devils’ managers and from that point on, she was hooked on hoops.

While Green may have been a mathematics major with an eye on law school when she started at Duke, she learned fairly quickly that the court she really wanted to work in had baskets at both ends and spectators, known affectionately as the Cameron Crazies, screaming at ear-splitting decibels.

Working with Coach K, Grant Hill, Trajan Langdon, Tommy Amaker and Chris Collins wasn’t bad either.

Better than work-study at the campus library, right?

On game days, Green’s seat was directly behind the team bench. And when the Blue Devils’ weren’t playing, Green dove enthusiastically into a myriad of activities in the basketball offices, never afraid to tackle anything.

Green’s efforts did not go unrewarded. When Amaker, a former All-American and assistant coach at Duke, was named head coach at Seton Hall in 1997, one of the first people he called to join his staff was Green. For four years, she was the director of basketball operations at the East Orange, N. J. school, one of the few women to hold such a position. Green, almost assuredly, would have happily remained there, but, in late March, Amaker received a job opportunity he couldn’t refuse.

The University of Michigan.

“The past two months have been a whirlwind,” said Green, who now has the same title with the Wolverines as she did with Seton Hall. “We hit the ground running. You just keep going. There are so many, many things to do, both personally and professioinally, when you try to set up a new program.”

Amaker leaves the details of setting up shop in Ann Arbor to Green. There’s the matter of getting the assistant coaches and their families settled, meetings with UM athletic department officials, and organizing the basketball office, no small feat considering the Blue and Maize have been among the most successful and recognizable hoop programs in the country.

But the Wolverines have fallen on hard times the last few years.

It’s Amaker’s job to get it turned around.

“It’s a huge task to rebuild any program,” Green said. “When you haven’t been winning, it’s never an overnight solution. They brought our staff in to improve where they are. I think if you do it the right way, in the end, you’ll have a quality product.”

“It’s easy to see why the job is so attractive. Michigan has a standard of excellence , both athletically and academically, that few schools can match. In fact, Green was surprised to learn that athletic director Bill Martin that nine gold medals from the 2000 Olympics were won by people from the state of Michigan. All nine had some connection with the university.

“There’s excellence everywhere around you,” Green said. “It will be easier to attract good kids.”

But even with Amaker’s eye for talent, he’s going to have his hands full.

“We’re excited about the possibilities, but we’re also very aware of the realities of the situation that you’re not going to turn things around overnight,” Green said.

That’s why she has been working upwards of 70 hours a week since moving to the Midwest two months ago.

“It’s been a little crazy,” Green admitted.

But last Wednesday she headed home early so that she’d be able to catch the season finale of Law and Order on TV.

After all, it wasn’t too many years ago that her interest in the legal system went far beyond the make-believe world of Hollywood. In fact, if everything had gone according to her original plan, Green would have three years as a practicing attorney under her belt already.

“I think I’ll put those plans on hold,” she said with a laugh. “Working 70 hours a week, I’d much rather be doing this than working at a law firm in New York City.”

Hail to the Victors.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.