Ten years ago, Marvin Green was selected by athletic administrators to become Florida A&M’s the head golf coach. He has turned the team into a perennial top five team among HBCU’s.
Green, a native of Chicago, is a FAMU alumnus that received his bachelor’s in business and master’s in Sports Administration. Unlike most head coaches, he was not a student athlete while in school. He did not begin playing golf until halfway through his undergrad years.
“I got into golf my junior year of college because I had to take a business sport,” Green said. “I fell in love with the challenge. I had always been a basketball or football player growing up but, golf is challenging, it gives you a chance, you against the golf course.”
Green stayed rooted in Tallahassee after completing his second degree and became a faculty member, as a physical education instructor. Green was eventually offered the head golf coaching position by the athletic director in 2001.
“I actually was teaching beginning golf class. I had two guys on the golf team in my class tell me, ‘we learned more from you than we learned from our coach,'” Green said.
After being named head coach Green began to help restore the talent the team had when former athletic director Hansel Tookes was coaching the team.
“They won eight conference titles back then and one national championship under Tookes,” said Green. “We named the recreational center after him.”
Green believes that his current teams of six players are close to returning to prominence of Tookes’ teams in the 1950’s. He says with a scholarship or two more they will be ready to compete with the top tier division one golf teams.
“Sometimes when you are low on scholarship dollars you kind of feel like a general manager of a NBA basketball team or NFL team,” said Green. “You have to play the salary cap game. Who can I afford? Who is leaving? Who is graduating?”
Green expects a lot from his players in on the golf courses as well as their classes.
“You know he expects a lot out of you but he is not the type of coach, to smother you. He lets you try to work out your problems first. Before he tries to come in and intervenes,” said captain of the golf team Elijah Jackson.
Even after the Rattlers have finished in the top three for national tournament four times in the past nine years, Green says his biggest accomplishments have come from his players work in the class room.
“We got a 100 percent graduation rate; three years in a row we’ve had the highest team GPA. I try to make sure my guys are going to get a quality education and they’re going to have some great experiences,” said Green. “The game of golf is going to take them places sometimes their degree might not be able to take them. That’s what I love about what I do.”