Steve Green leaving South Plains College to join Texas Tech men’s basketball as assistant coach


Steve Green, who’s won more than 700 games and three national championships, as a head coach in the NJCAA, will join the Texas Tech staff as an assistant coach, Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said on Sunday. Green was a graduate assistant under Eddie Sutton and an assistant under Pat Foster before he became a junior-college head coach.

Steve Green, who coached the South Plains College men’s basketball program for the past 22 seasons and led the Texans to three NJCAA championships, is being hired as an assistant by Texas Tech, Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said Sunday.

Green, 68, is 706-195 as a junior-college head coach, including 552-152 at South Plains. He and Adams have been friends and coaching associates since the early 1980s. They coached against each other at rival programs in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.

More: Green gets 700th win as South Plains beats Clarendon

“As soon as that job came open, he’s the only person I offered the job to,” Adams told A-J Media. “I actually wanted to hire him last year. I just didn’t think the timing was good. Steve and I have a lot of history together.

“He’s been probably the most instrumental coach in my career as far as educating me and introducing me and connecting me to coaches on the Division I level. I give him credit for our relationship with coach Eddie Sutton and Pat Foster.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for his basketball knowledge. I think he’s one of smartest coaches in the country. We’re certainly honored and privileged that he’s going to be on our staff.”

Tech has had a coaching position open since Barret Peery departed after the season to join the staff at Nevada-Las Vegas.

More: TEXAS TECH SPORTS ROUNDUP: Red Raiders assistant Barret Peery is making a change

Adams said Al Pinkins, Corey Williams and Green each will have the title of assistant coach. None are designated as associate head coach, which is the title Peery had.

South Plains' Steve Green coaches his players during a time out of their game against South Georgia at the NJCAA Div. I Men's Basketball Championship Tournament Wednesday in the Sports Arena in Hutchinson. South Plains defeated South Georgia 91-90.

South Plains’ Steve Green coaches his players during a time out of their game against South Georgia at the NJCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Wednesday in the Sports Arena in Hutchinson. South Plains defeated South Georgia 91-90.

Green is known for his offensive systems. In recent years, he’s had a pair of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the NJCAA in Marshall Henderson and Jordan Brangers.

“I’ll lean heavily on him on the offensive side,” Adams said. “He’s got a great offensive mind. We’re always talking, not as much defense, but offensive schemes and always thinking outside the box. So his recruiting and player development will be on the offensive end.”

Green grew up in Miami, Oklahoma, and went to college at Oklahoma Christian. He was a graduate assistant at Arkansas under Eddie Sutton during the 1979-80 season. From there, he spent six years at Lamar and two years at Houston, all under Foster, who had been a Sutton assistant at Arkansas. The first five seasons at Lamar, they won at least 20 games and twice made the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Green went 81-19 as head coach at Howard College from 1988-91 and 73-24 from 1991-94 at Midland College. Then he was an assistant at San Diego State (1994-99) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1999-2000).

Green’s teams won the Western Junior College Athletic Conference 10 times, the NJCAA Region V championship 10 times and have made 12 appearances at the national tournament. South Plains won the titles in 2008, 2012 and 2018 and finished runner-up in 2015, the year Green was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

More: Green, NJCAA to represent U.S. in world games

“You look at his résumé, he’s just a proven winner,” Adams said.

Adams said Green was the first Division I coach to recruit one of his players when Adams was coaching at Clarendon College.

“We’ve gone all across the country together, either recruiting or watching NBA teams play,” Adams said. “One of my best stories is coach Green got us in to watch the Boston Celtics work out. I think they were playing Houston.

“Steve and I, we could see Red Auerbach and the smoke coming out of his cigar. There was Larry Bird out there, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton, Robert Parish. It was a great memory for me, because the Celtics were my favorite team and I looked up to so many of those guys.

“Everybody knows Steve Green. I walked into a practice in Kansas, and they were having one of their opening practices, and there were probably 50 coaches around. Bill Self immediately comes over and greets Steve. He just has that kind of reputation across the country.”

Texas Tech football

Ronnie Rice, a two-time Texas Tech rushing leader on DeWitt Weaver teams of the late 1950s and the Red Raiders’ career record holder in kickoff-return average, died Tuesday. He was 84.

Rice’s passing was made public in obituary information by Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors in Pampa, his hometown.

Rice lettered for the Red Raiders from 1957-59, during the period between when Tech finished competing in the Border Conference and started competing in the Southwest Conference. He carried 67 times for a team-high 426 yards on a 2-8 team in 1957 and carried 67 times for a team-high 263 yards on a 3-7 team in 1958.

The Red Raiders went 4-6 in 1959, and Rice carried 29 times for 152 yards.

He still holds the Tech record for career kickoff-return average at 30.3 yards, having returned 19 kickoffs for 577 yards.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Steve Green hired as Texas Tech men’s basketball assistant coach


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