Hall of Fames are nothing new for Robert Green.
After all, the retired longtime Dillard High track and field coach and athletic director is already a member of four of them: The National Black High School Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga., the Allen University Athletic Hall of Fame in Columbia, S.C., the Dunbar High School Athletic Hall of Fame, where his high school jersey is also retired, in Fort Myers, and the Lee County Athletic Hall of Fame, also in Fort Myers.
Yet this Sunday’s induction into the FHSAA Athletic Hall of Fame will be every bit as meaningful to him, Green said.
“This is pretty big,” he noted.
Green, 84, will be one of seven individuals inducted in a ceremony in Gainesville. The rest of the 2013 class includes Bruce Irvin, Norman Jackson, Charles “Buddy” Lowe, Paul McLaughlin, John Messina and Holly Thompson.
“This is like the culmination for me,” Green said. “It means quite a bit to be recognized for your involvement with the students in the community. It’s quite rewading to me that people feel you’ve done something to deserve this. To me, what I’ve done is nothing big.”
Green retired in 1993 after 35 years at Dillard as a teacher, coach, administrator and athletic director. He was the Panthers’ AD for the final 17 years of his tenure. During his three-plus decades at the school, he also was an assistant football coach and an assistant boys basketball coach.
A great former athlete himself – he led Dunbar High’s football team in scoring all four years as the team’s fastest player and was nicknamed “Pompey” after the famed Roman military commander “Pompey the Great”; After starring at Allen University, and a stint in the U.S. Army, he played for the Cleveland Browns – Green arrived at Dillard in 1957.
One of his accomplishments at the school was breaking the racial barrier in track and field in Broward County. He became the first African-American to participate in the Broward County track and field coaches clinic, and his Panthers team was the first to compete in an integrated track meet in 1967-68.
Green is also the founder and president of the “Dillard 100 Club,” an organization which raises money for school academic and athletic trips. He has remained active in Panthers athletics since his retirement, recently accompanying the girls basketball team to the ESPNHS National High School Invitational in Bethesda, Md.
Green, whose wife and two daughters are Dillard graduates, said of his association with the school: “It means the world to me. I look at all of those students as mine.”
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