As a 13-year-old in 1962, Dennis Green attended the historic game in Hershey, Pennsylvania where Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points. Perhaps it was that evening, while witnessing one of American sport’s greatest achievements of all time, that young Dennis Green dreamed of achieving his own form of sporting greatness. Fast forward nearly 50 years to the present day, and Green has put together a resume that could stand up to anyone in the business of coaching.
The United Football League pounced on the chance to get Green on-board with their upstart league, and last year Green coached the California Redwoods to a 2-4 record in the UFL’s inaugural season. Since that time, the team has planted its roots in Sacramento, and Green has gone about compiling a roster- led by new addition and former NFL star Daunte Culpepper- that should make the Mountain Lions the team to beat going into the UFL’s 2010 season. Green will look to improve on last year’s 2-4 mark, and will likely do so as he is no stranger to success. During Green’s tenure as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, the team reached the playoffs 8 of his first 9 years at the helm. In 1998, Green led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season record, before having their Super Bowl hopes dashed by a tough Falcons team known for doing an endzone dance they dubbed, ‘the dirty birdie’. A victim of his own success, Green and Minnesota parted ways after he experienced his first unsuccessful year in 2001. Green coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2004-2006, and in the final year delivered a passionate speech in the immediate aftermath of a crushing loss to the then heralded Chicago Bears that some critics tried to portray as the hoofprints of a crazy man, when in actuality is was simply the exhaust that comes out of a fiery competitor after his engine has run in the red for upwards of three hours.
A genuine, man’s-man type of guy, Green will likely do well with the people of Sacramento, many of whom can relate to his middle-class upbringings and his achieving of success through hard work and focus. Green is openly elated to be reunited with Culpepper, who played quarterback for Minnesota during most of Green’s tenure with the team and several of their playoff runs. At a recent press conference, Green was open and upfront about the offensive approach the Mountain Lions will be employing, “It’s high-octane, it’s bombs-away.” Tickets are currently on sale for what should be a very entertaining 4-game home schedule, beginning Saturday, September 25th, at Hornet Field on the campus of CSUS.