Utica, NY – Utica native Kevin Green knew he wanted to be a baseball player from a very young age, when his passion for the game blossomed into a desire to be the best he could possibly be at the game.
That passion continue to grow throughout his days from the sandlots of and ball fields of Utica, all the way to a stellar career at NCAA Division II Dominican University, where Green was recently inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Wanting to be a baseball player was passed down by my father,” he said. “He took me out to baseball fields. I always worked at it (baseball), but it was a complete labor of love and something that I enjoyed doing. It was my passion, and I think a lot of it was because I was decent playing the game. The reason why I was decent at baseball was because of my work ethic and being inspired by my dad.”
Green played for the MVCC collegiate baseball team from 1994 to 1995. He was the first and only two-time All-American in MVCC and recorded a NJCAA career best 26 doubles, 11 triples, and stole a league-best 62 bases. He also helped push MVCC all the way to the NJCAA World Series in 1995.
Green had the opportunity to move to Columbus, Ohio and play for the Ohio Dominican University baseball team. He said that he was first worried about moving to Columbus because he did not want to be too far out of reach from his parents and friends. Green was even drafted by the Florida (now Miami) Marlins in 1995, but he turned down the selection, instead opting to accept a baseball scholarship to Ohio Dominican in 1996.
“I had been home (Mohawk Valley) throughout my entire young life,” Green said. “Columbus is eight hours away from home. The first thing would have been the shock of no longer seeing your parents. I’ve also been drafted by the Marlins, and I’ve chosen not to sign the contract. I decided that going to school and completing my education was more important than me playing professional baseball.”
Green’s first impression with the college’s baseball team was not a good one as he struck out a bunch of times at the plate.
“I went there with a lot of pressure,” Green said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself because of the success I had at MVCC. So when I got there I struggled. For the first time in my baseball career I have struggled. I actually went from batting leadoff to my coach calling me into his office and letting me know that you’re striking out too much.”
Green began to realize that becoming a baseball star is a lot more challenging than he thought.
“Baseball is a pretty challenging game,” he said. “A mano-a-mano battle of a hitter and a pitcher. The variety of pitches that can be thrown, and trying to work at bat and come up with a hit is not an easy thing to do.”
Despite the early struggles, Green never left the team. He continued to work hard to improve his batting performance.
“The coach moved me to ninth in the lineup, and I have never batted ninth,” Green said. “But that was a big change for me. I had to learn quickly that you got to pull yourself together and figure this out. I was fortunate enough to pick myself up and figure it out, and I was able to do that. I was moved back up in the lineup. We got on a nice run, and we were able to ride that wave right into the NAIA College World Series in 1996.”
Green himself enjoyed a nice run while at Ohio Dominican, receiving NAIA Honorable Mention All-American honors in 1997 after hitting .396 with five homers, 34 RBIs, 40 stolen bases and 72 runs scored. He was also named First Team All-MOC and was selected to the NAIA All-Great Lakes region team that spring. In 1996, he hit 10 home runs, stole 31 bases and scored 47 runs as well.
After graduating from Ohio Dominican, Green moved back to the Mohawk Valley and played professionally in the NY Penn Leaguem for the Utica Blue Sox (former Florida Marlins minor-league affiliate) from 1997-98.
Green said that he enjoyed playing baseball, but he had much more desire to coach the sport ever since graduating from Ohio Dominican.
“The coaching side keeps baseball really close to me,” he said, “and it gives me an opportunity to give back from all the experiences and adversities that I faced as a player. I’m able to mentally help players through those types of adversities through the game. I enjoy the coaching side and trying to give the kids as much information as possible for them to be prepared to go up there and have some level of success.”
Green’s baseball coaching experience began at Dowling College in Oakdale, where he became a graduate assistant for the college’s baseball team. He then got a summer-league coaching job for the Newport Gulls and helped the team win the 2001 New England Collegiate Baseball League championship. He was even an assistant coach during the Orleans Cardinals’ (which are now the Firebirds) 2003 Cape Cod League Championship season.
Green finally had his shot to do what he loved as a coach in professional baseball. He became a hitting coach in the Chicago Cubs organization from 2006-08.
“The professional coaching was something that I fell into,” Green said. “I had playing experience as a former minor league baseball player, so I thought going out and coaching professional baseball would be a nice career for me.”
Green’s life was not that much baseball driven. He was a physical education teacher at Notre Dame High School, and he is now the Director of the Oneida County Youth Bureau.
Green still find time to coach the New Hartford high school varsity baseball team. He also was the varsity baseball coach at Notre Dame High School from 2011-14.
The hard work not only at Ohio Dominican, but throughout his entire baseball career paid off in the end, as he was inducted into the Ohio Dominican Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I was overwhelmed with baseball memories,” Green said. “There were no bad memories. There were no mess-ups or any bumps on the road that derailed me from achieving some success in my life. A lot of the success that I was fortunate to have, I attribute a lot of that to my experiences through college because college is what gets you prepared for the next phase of life. I’ve been around some very helpful people and whenever those baseball moments come up in my life, I’ve been lucky enough to have a support system there (Ohio Dominican University).”