By Byler Henry
Greatness can be seen from a mile away. Dillard has decided to name the track after Coach Robert Green. From a shotgun house in Fort Myers to having a track named after him at Dillard, coach Robert Green has come a long way. He attended Dunbar High School and was the fastest football player to ever graduate in 1949, and he led his team in scoring for four years. Not only has he coached track, but he also ran track at Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina. It was there where he won the SIAC Championship in track two of his four years in the 100-yard dash. He was also the first runner from Allen to participate in the Penn relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, finishing second in the 100-meter dash to Art Bragg who was the 100-meter champion. He was also invited to the Olympic Trials in 1952, unfortunately due to the lack of sponsors he was unable to attend.
Coach Green also joined the army and he continued football and track while in the army, he has also received many metals and commendations from ranking officers for his accomplishments. He also tied the world record in the 100-yard dash at the Olympic trials running it in 9.3 seconds. He also received offers in football from the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers; he decided on the National Champion Browns. “I think this year with the draft and some of the trades they’ve made possibly I’m pretty sure they’re going to be able to do quite a little bit better,” Coach Green says. The Browns have been struggling for a quite a while, but Coach Green still has hopes for his former team to turn things around.
He started working at Dillard High School in 1957 and has worked there for 35 years leaving his mark as a teacher, coach, department chair, and athletic director for 17 years. He was also the first African-American coach to participate in a Broward County track and field clinic for coaches, and his team was the first to participate in an integrated track meet in 1967-1968.
To this day at 89 years young he continues to contribute to the school’s athletic and academic programs. He is the founder and president of the Panther 100 club which has collectively over the years has donated over $100,000 to support Dillard’s programs. With the funds from the Panther 100 he has accompanied Dillard’s athletic teams across the country including places such as Alaska, New York City, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles etc. Coach Green bleeds blue and gray and has deserved such an honor.
“This makes me feel proud, they feel that I made contributions to Dillard and to the city of Ft. Lauderdale for me to be bestowed with such an honor.” Coach Green says about having the track named after him. His hard work and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Even after his retirement from the school, he’s still making contributions from the Panther 100. Along with having the track named after him, he has other awards such as being Dillard High Schools Hall of Fame (1986), Dunbar High School Hall of Fame and retired number 4 football jersey, National Negro Hall of Fame (Atlanta, Georgia 2008), Allen University Hall of Fame (Columbia, South Carolina), and the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Coach Green and this is an honor that’s well deserved.