I first approached Miami Springs Senior High School head softball coach Charlie Green about it last fall.
“Hey Charlie, you’re at 391,” I quipped. “Nine more wins and we’re going to tear the house down.”
His reaction was predictable. He shrugged his shoulders and said something to the tune of “no big deal.”
Well, the “house didn’t come down” last Friday afternoon, March 1 at Ferguson High School, but there were still some pretty excited folks when the Lady Hawks put the finishing touches on a lopsided 13-0 victory over the Falcons. While it pushed Springs’ season record to 9-1, with it came a major milestone as it marked Green’s 400th career victory.
What started with win No. 1 way back in February 1990 built up throughout the last two decades and culminated last week. As a softball coach in Miami-Dade County, Green went into some pretty rarified air as well as he became only the third coach in county history to surpass the 400 number. Only Gulliver Prep’s Mark Schusterman (587) and Westminster Christian’s Scott Doan (486) are ahead of him — both are still coaching as well. But both Schusterman and Doan are at private institutions, so if anyone is interested in putting Green up there on a pedestal all by himself as I am, we will call him the first coach in Miam-Dade County to ever win 400 games at a public school.
Green wasn’t interested in any of the traditional “Gatorade dumping on the coach” stuff when the Ferguson game was over and that didn’t surprise me.
That’s Charlie Green.
At the risk of dating myself, I’ve been privileged to know him since win No. 1 23 years ago when the Gazette sports page was in its early stages, and to know Charlie is to know that any of his personal accomplishments or feats meant very little to him in the context of what he felt was really important — and that has always been trying to help “his girls” get into college at any level with some kind of financial help.
Heck, if it had not been for his long-time assistant Denny Hubbard or team mom Charlene Navarro going through the trouble of looking back and counting it up at the end of last season and letting me know, I or nobody else would have ever even known.
His comment following the Ferguson game last week told you everything you needed to know.
“Wow, it seems like I just started last week,” Green said with a wry smile. “This is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and it never gets old. The enjoyment I’ve always gotten, though, has nothing to do with me but instead trying to help our girls get into school at the next level. That’s where the satisfaction has always come in.”
I know first-hand. Through the years, Green has never hesitated gassing up his car on his own dime and headed north to whatever small school would allow him to work out one of “his girls.”
Green’s “girls” were certainly not about to blow off the big moment. When they arrived back at Springs High School on Friday, a huge congratulatory cake awaited their coach as well as a huge plaque commemorating his historic achievement.