DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The University of San Diego led six offensive categories in the West Coast Conference last season under new UH hitting coach Brian Green.
Brian Green hasn't lived in one place for very long since beginning his coaching career eight years ago as a student-assistant at his alma mater, New Mexico State University.
UH's new hitting coach Brian Green
calls his position "elite" and has plans
to "win big" with the Rainbows
By Al Chase
"I've been lucky and worked with some great people," the newest member of the University of Hawaii baseball staff said of his rapid rise up the assistant coaching ladder. "This is one of the elite coaching jobs in the country for an assistant coach. I plan on being here (Hawaii) for a while."
The day after he concluded his collegiate playing career, then-NMSU coach Elliott Avent asked Green if he wanted to be the Aggies' student assistant the following season working with the infielders and base runners.
That was the perfect situation for Green. After his first year in junior college, Green discovered a certain satisfaction in teaching players at a summer camp.
"I still remember that moment. My coach, Dennis Rogers, came by and mentioned that it looked like I really enjoyed working with the kids," Green said. "I knew then I wanted to coach baseball and be a head coach some day. Since then, I've always enjoyed the challenge of getting people to believe in what you are saying."
After stops at Riverside (Calif.) Community College, Cal Poly Pomona, Chapman (Calif.) University and Oregon State, Green joined the University of San Diego staff last year. USD coach Rich Hill gave Green the job of instructing the hitters in the fall and said he would see him in four months. It was Green's job, to succeed or not, period.
"The hardest thing I ever did was going out with the USD hitters and just watching them hit for the first two days without saying anything," Green said. "I've always tried to be a good listener and I was confident after seven years of coaching that maybe I didn't have to talk so much.
"I told them that things would be consistent, well thought out and after I watched them, we would develop a plan. It was a special year, the most satisfying of my career."
The Toreros qualified for their first NCAA Tournament trip after finishing with a .311 team batting average and leading the West Coast Conference in six offensive categories.
Yet, when the assistant in charge of hitting position opened up at Hawaii, it was a no-brainer as far as applying for Green, even though it would mean he and his wife, Becki, would be on the move once again.
"For me, and I've had the same feeling ever since I got the job, is the opportunity to win big here. That was the lure for me," Green said. "I've never heard anything negative about Trap (UH head coach Mike Trapasso), and it was the same thing with Chad Konishi, who I knew from before. I went after the job as hard as I could."
Green came in from Alaska, where he was coaching the Kenai Peninsula Oilers, for an interview and a quick tour of the UH campus. Trapasso hired him, forcing Green to leave Alaska behind. He felt bad about it, but the team management understood.
As soon as he was on the UH payroll, Trapasso and Konishi faxed lists of potential recruits in the Southern California area. Green, already certified as a recruiter by the NCAA, was on the telephone. The emphasis now is convincing recruits to sign with UH for the 2004 season.
"It was great to be able to get right into the recruiting mix," Green said.
It won't be long before fall practice begins for the Rainbows. He plans to start working with the UH hitters the same way he did at USD a year ago.
"I think my philosophy (on hitting) is based on what I've learned from five or six people I've been around," Green said. "It changes and probably won't be quite the same five years from now. I've learned a lot through trial and error in giving lessons.
"Hitting is a unique thing. You have your philosophy and you want to shape your hitters around that, but you can't tell a hitter, 'You have to stand this way.' Hitting is such an individual thing.
"The physical part is one thing, but, for me, the relationship you have with a hitter is most important. It will take time for them to trust in me, but I know they will want to get better."
Green's challenge will be to take a team that had its batting average fall 40 points last spring from the year before and reverse that condition, perhaps getting that 40 points back next spring.
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