Dennis Earl Green (February 17, 1949 – July 21, 2016) was an American football coach. During his National Football League (NFL) career, Green coached the Minnesota Vikings for 10 seasons. He coached the Vikings to eight playoff appearances in nine years, despite having seven different starting quarterbacks in those postseasons. He was inducted into the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor in 2018.
Green was the Vikings head coach from 1992 to 2001. His best season in Minnesota was in 1998, when the Vikings finished 15–1 and set the NFL record for most points in a season at the time. However, the Vikings would be upset by the Atlanta Falcons in that year's NFC Championship Game. Following his first losing record in 2001, he was fired just before the final game of the season.
Green was hired by the Cardinals to serve as the head coach for the 2004 season, a franchise then-noted for its futility, which had posted only one winning season in a quarter-century. In Arizona, Green was unable to match his success in Minnesota, and his poor win-loss record (16-32) with the Cardinals was similar to that of his predecessors in Arizona. However, some commentators describe Green's Arizona as an inflection point in the history of the Cardinals, arguing that the culture of the team changed under Green, and noting that the core of the personnel in the Cardinals' 2008 Super Bowl run was acquired by Green.
Green, circa 2015
|Born:||February 17, 1949|
|Died:||July 21, 2016 (aged 67)|
San Diego, California
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Green grew up in a working class household in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His father was a postal worker and his mother a beautician. His father died when Green was 11 and his mother died when he was 13. Green has said that he was in attendance at the March 2, 1962 NBA game in Hershey, Pennsylvania where Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points.
Green attended John Harris High School (now Harrisburg High School) in Harrisburg, and graduated cum laude from the University of Iowa with a BA in finance. According to Green, he was planning to be a high school teacher if his football career didn't pan out. In college, he started as halfback in each of his three seasons with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Green played briefly for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League in 1971, then worked as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton, University of Iowa and Stanford University, initially under Bill Walsh.
In 1981, Green was named the head coach of Northwestern University, a school that had gone 1-31-1 in its last 33 games. In 1981, he was only the second African American head coach in Division I-A history (the previous coach, Willie Jeffries, coached at Wichita State, which no longer has a football team). Green was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, as chosen by writers and broadcasters, in 1982 at Northwestern. He left Northwestern in 1985, doing a stint as receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers under his former boss at Stanford, Bill Walsh.
In 1989, Green took the head coaching position at Stanford University, inheriting a team that had graduated 17 of its 21 starters from 1988. Green led the Cardinal from 1989 to 1991. During that time, his teams finished with an overall record of 16–18, a .471 winning percentage, going 3–0 in the Big Game against the California Golden Bears. In 1990, his Stanford team defeated top-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. His tenure culminated with an 8–3 record (Stanford's best since 1986). A loss to Washington in the opening game of the season was the deciding factor for the Pac-10 championship. The Cardinal made an appearance in the 1991 Aloha Bowl, where his team lost to Georgia Tech on a last-minute touchdown.
Green was a disciple of Bill Walsh's West Coast offense and was touted by Walsh and other NFL pundits as a likely candidate to be the second African-American head coach in the NFL. On January 10, 1992, Green was named 5th head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, replacing the retiring Jerry Burns. The day he was introduced as the Vikings' head coach, he announced that there was a "new sheriff in town". He would be only the second African American head coach after Art Shell in the modern NFL era and the first to do so without ever playing in the NFL. He was only the third of all time after Fritz Pollard and Shell.
Through his first six years with the team, Green never posted a losing record and the team failed to qualify for the playoffs only once. Initially, Green earned widespread praise for turning around what had recently been a lackluster franchise. However, as the team's fan-base grew accustomed to regular season success, Green came under criticism for failing to advance the team deeper into the playoffs.
In 1996, two members of the Vikings' ownership board, Wheelock Whitney and Jane Dyer, reportedly contacted Lou Holtz, who was the coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and former coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. They wanted to bring Holtz in to replace Green. Holtz abruptly announced his retirement in 1996, and rumors surrounded the reasons, one of which was the possible Vikings head coaching position.
In 1997, Green published his autobiography No Room For Crybabies, in which he responded to the criticism and perceived personal vendettas by Twin Cities sports writers Bob Sansevere, Dan Barreiro, and Patrick Reusse. He threatened to sue the team as his response to the Lou Holtz rumors.
The high point of Green's Vikings career was the 1998 season, when the team went 15–1 and set the NFL record for the most points scored in a season (the 2013 Denver Broncos under John Fox currently hold this record). The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship game, losing to the Atlanta Falcons after Atlanta's Morten Andersen made a field goal in overtime.
In 2001, the Vikings finished with a losing record for the first time in Green's decade with the team. The Vikings bought out Green's contract on January 4, 2002. Assistant coach Mike Tice led the team in their final regular season game against the Baltimore Ravens, and was eventually hired as the head coach.
After spending two seasons as an analyst for ESPN, Green was hired as head coach by the Arizona Cardinals on January 7, 2004. Through his first two years with the team, Green totaled 11 wins with the Cardinals and finishing 3rd and 2nd in the NFC West, an improvement over predecessor Dave McGinnis. Unlike his previous two seasons, the 2006 season began with great expectations for the Cardinals with the opening of a new stadium, sellout crowds, the drafting of quarterback Matt Leinart, and the signing of Pro Bowl running back Edgerrin James. After a solid start, the Cardinals suffered some tough early losses.
The worst of these came in a Monday Night Football game on October 16, 2006. After losing a 20-point lead to the Chicago Bears in less than twenty minutes, the generally soft-spoken Green threw a tirade during a post-game media conference. In that conference, Green lashed out in response to questions about Arizona's tenacious defense that forced six turnovers and for most of the game shut down the Chicago offense:
The day after the press conference, offensive coordinator Keith Rowen was fired and replaced with quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek. Although Green later apologized for the outburst, and the Cardinals rallied to win four of their last seven games (including a rare win over playoff-bound Seattle), many pundits felt that the loss to Chicago and ensuing tirade had already sealed Green's fate. On January 1, 2007, the Cardinals fired Green with a year left on his contract.
Green's tirade is still used heavily in NFL media coverage today, often comically, to describe the obvious flaws of an opponent and the failure to capitalize on that knowledge. It was featured in a Coors TV advertisement.
Beginning with the 2010 season, the Redwoods moved to Sacramento and were renamed the Mountain Lions. Green remained as head coach for the 2011 seasons as well, his final season with the Mountain Lions. After leaving the team, Green sued the league for lack of payment on a $1.5 million contract for the 2011 season. (The United Football League suspended play in October 2012 amid lawsuits alleging unpaid debts.) An arbitrator awarded Green $990,000 for the 2011 season, and the award was upheld in February 2014 by a San Francisco Superior Court judge. The judgment was never collected because of the league's poor financial condition.
After his death, the Vikings team released a statement saying, "He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Green family."
|Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten Conference) (1981–1985)|
|Stanford Cardinal (Pacific-10 Conference) (1989–1991)|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|MIN||1992||11||5||0||.688||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Washington Redskins in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|MIN||1993||9||7||0||.562||2nd in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to New York Giants in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|MIN||1994||10||6||0||.625||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Chicago Bears in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|MIN||1995||8||8||0||.500||4th in NFC Central||–||–||–||–|
|MIN||1996||9||7||0||.562||2nd in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|MIN||1997||9||7||0||.562||4th in NFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Divisional Game.|
|MIN||1998||15||1||0||.938||1st in NFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to Atlanta Falcons in NFC Championship Game.|
|MIN||1999||10||6||0||.625||2nd in NFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to St. Louis Rams in NFC Divisional Game.|
|MIN||2000||11||5||0||.688||1st in NFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to New York Giants in NFC Championship Game.|
|MIN||2001*||5||10||0||.333||4th in NFC Central||–||–||–||–|
|ARI||2004||6||10||0||.375||3rd in NFC West||–||–||–||–|
|ARI||2005||5||11||0||.313||3rd in NFC West||–||–||–||–|
|ARI||2006||5||11||0||.313||4th in NFC West||–||–||–||–|
*Only coached 15 games
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|CAL||2009||2||4||0||.333||3rd in UFL||–||–||–||–|
|SAC||2010||4||4||0||.500||3rd in UFL||–||–||–||–|
|SAC||2011||2||3||0||.400||3rd in UFL||–||–||–||–|
NFL head coaches under whom Dennis Green has served:
Assistant coaches under Green who have become NCAA or NFL head coaches:
Other prominent coaches:
There's no room for crybabies.
The 1981 Northwestern Wildcats team represented Northwestern University during the 1981 Big Ten Conference football season. In their first year under head coach Dennis Green, the Wildcats compiled a 0–11 record (0–9 against Big Ten Conference opponents) and finished in last place in the Big Ten Conference. The team played its home games at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, Illinois.
Northwestern finished the season in the midst of a 34-game losing streak, the longest in NCAA Division I-A history. The streak began on September 22, 1979, and ended on September 25, 1982.The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Mike Kerrigan with 1,317 passing yards, Jim Browne with 162 rushing yards, and Chris Hinton with 265 receiving yards. Ricky Edwards led the Big Ten with 30 kickoff returns and 611 kickoff return yards.1982 Northwestern Wildcats football team
The 1982 Northwestern Wildcats team represented Northwestern University during the 1982 Big Ten Conference football season. In their second year under head coach Dennis Green, the Wildcats compiled a 3–8 record (2–7 against Big Ten Conference opponents) and finished in a tie for eighth place in the Big Ten Conference.On September 25, Northwestern defeated Northern Illinois 31-6 to end the Wildcats' 34-game losing streak, which remains the longest losing streak in FBS/1-A history.Dennis Green was awarded Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 1982 season. While the team's record is still the worst of any winner's team, their three wins equaled the team's total over the past six seasons.The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Sandy Schwab with 2,735 passing yards, Ricky Edwards with 688 rushing yards, and Jon Harvey with 807 receiving yards. Offensive tackle Chris Hinton received first-team All-Big Ten honors from both the Associated Press and the United Press International.1983 Northwestern Wildcats football team
The 1983 Northwestern Wildcats team represented Northwestern University during the 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season. In their third year under head coach Dennis Green, the Wildcats compiled a 2–9 record (2–7 against Big Ten Conference opponents) and finished in a tie for eighth place in the Big Ten Conference.The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Sandy Schwab with 1,838 passing yards, Ricky Edwards with 561 rushing yards, and Ricky Edwards with 570 receiving yards. Punter John Kidd received first-team All-Big Ten honors from both the Associated Press and the United Press International.1984 Northwestern Wildcats football team
The 1984 Northwestern Wildcats team represented Northwestern University during the 1984 Big Ten Conference football season. In their fourth year under head coach Dennis Green, the Wildcats compiled a 2–9 record (2–7 against Big Ten Conference opponents) and finished in ninth place in the Big Ten Conference.The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Sandy Schwab with 845 passing yards, Casey Cummings with 386 rushing yards, and Tony Coates with 311 receiving yards. Defensive lineman Keith Cruise received first-team All-Big Ten honors from both the Associated Press and the United Press International.1985 Northwestern Wildcats football team
The 1985 Northwestern Wildcats team represented Northwestern University during the 1985 Big Ten Conference football season. In their fifth year under head coach Dennis Green, the Wildcats compiled a 3–8 record (1–7 against Big Ten Conference opponents) and finished in a tie for last place in the Big Ten Conference.The team's offensive leaders were quarterback Mike Greenfield with 2,152 passing yards, Stanley Davenport with 598 rushing yards, and Curtis Duncan with 498 receiving yards.1989 Stanford Cardinal football team
The 1989 Stanford Cardinal football team represented Stanford University in the 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season. They were coached by first-year coach Dennis Green, previously an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers and hired to replace Jack Elway, who was fired the previous year.1994 Minnesota Vikings season
The 1994 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 34th in the National Football League and their third under head coach Dennis Green. The team finished with a 10–6 record and reached the playoffs for a third straight season, but also failed to make it out of the Wild Card round for the third year in a row, losing 35–18 to their division rival Chicago Bears.1995 Minnesota Vikings season
The 1995 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 35th in the National Football League. Under head coach Dennis Green, they finished with an 8–8 record and still had a chance to make the playoffs entering Week 17 at Cincinnati; however, victories for the Bears and the Falcons in their final games rendered the Vikings' defeat to the Bengals inconsequential, and Minnesota missed the playoffs for the first time under Green. Despite the team's poor play, rookie safety Orlando Thomas recorded a league-leading 9 interceptions of the season.1996 Minnesota Vikings season
The 1996 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 36th in the National Football League. Under head coach Dennis Green, they finished with a 9–7 record and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1994, starting a run of five consecutive playoff appearances.
They started the season with five wins in their first six games, before losing their next four. Starting quarterback Warren Moon suffered a broken collarbone during the season and missed the final six games, allowing fifth-year backup Brad Johnson to take his place. With Johnson under center, the Vikings won four of their remaining five games, including divisional victories on the road against the Detroit Lions and at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those wins proved pivotal in the Vikings qualification for the playoffs, as their superior intra-conference record (8–4) over the Washington Redskins rendered Minnesota's week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers irrelevant, despite the Redskins defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings entered the playoffs as the number 6 seed in the NFC, pitting them against the Cowboys in the wildcard round. The Cowboys put up 30 unanswered points in the first half and ultimately won the game 40–15, making it the fourth time in five seasons that the Vikings' season ended in the wildcard round.
For the season, the Vikings sported new uniforms, adding the team's logo to both sleeves of the jersey. These uniforms would remain in use with the Minnesota Vikings until 2005.1997 Minnesota Vikings season
The 1997 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 37th in the National Football League and their sixth under head coach Dennis Green. The team finished with a 9–7 record and qualified for a wild card berth in the playoffs. In the wild card round against the New York Giants, the Vikings came back from a 22–13 deficit with 90 seconds to play to win 23–22, their first playoff victory since 1988. In the divisional round, the Vikings were defeated 38–22 by the San Francisco 49ers.
Vikings defensive tackle John Randle led the league in sacks with 15.5. Wide receiver Cris Carter's 13 touchdown receptions also were most in the league.
Before the season, the Vikings acquired Randall Cunningham after a year out of the game, a move that reunited Cunningham with his former Philadelphia Eagles teammate Cris Carter.2001 Minnesota Vikings season
The 2001 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 41st in the National Football League. Despite having a 12th ranked offense, the Vikings finished 5–11 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995. Before the end of the season, the team fired head coach Dennis Green, who had become a polarizing force among the Viking fan base despite his successful coaching tenure with the team. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001, a loss to the Ravens.
The season began in tragic circumstances when offensive lineman Korey Stringer died of heat stroke in training camp.
The season started off with a 24–13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers. They did not win on the road at all during this season. Some season highlights included a 35–13 win over the rival Green Bay Packers in week six, and a week ten victory over the Giants in which Randy Moss pulled in 10 receptions for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns leading to a 28–16 victory.
This was Cris Carter's final season in Minnesota, having played 12 seasons there, making eight consecutive Pro Bowl appearances (1993–2000), all with the Vikings. He is the team's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He retired at the end of the disappointing season, but would briefly return to play for the Miami Dolphins midway through next season.2003 Arizona Cardinals season
The 2003 Arizona Cardinals season was the franchise's 105th season, 84th season in the National Football League and the 16th in Arizona. The team was unable to improve upon their previous output of 5–11, instead winning only four games, although this was not considered a disaster as before their win over the Packers there was talk the 2003 Cardinals would become the first NFL team to go 0–16. For the fifth consecutive season, the franchise failed to reach the playoffs, and based on point differential had the worst record in the only NFL season where every team won at least four games. This resulted in the Cardinals firing head coach Dave McGinnis and replacing him with Dennis Green. In his NFL debut, Anquan Boldin had 217 receiving yards.2006 Chicago Bears–Arizona Cardinals game
On October 16, 2006, during the sixth week of the National Football League (NFL) regular season, the Chicago Bears defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 24–23, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The undefeated Bears staged the "comeback of the year" against the 1-win Cardinals after trailing by 20 points at halftime. This game is the first game in which the Bears won after trailing by 20 or more points since 1987 (they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27–26). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first win in Bears history in which they trailed by at least 20 points in the second half, and the Cardinals became the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games in a season after being ahead by 14 or more points at the end of the first quarter in each of their games. The Bears also set an NFL record for the biggest comeback without scoring an offensive touchdown in league history. Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart became the first quarterback in history to throw at least 2 touchdown passes in each of his first 2 career starts. The last time a team won after committing 6 turnovers was over 20 years prior.The postgame press conference was notable for Cardinals head coach Dennis Green's profanity-laced rant, highlighted by the quote "The Bears are who we thought they were". The game was ranked #6 on NFL Top 10 on NFL Network for Top Ten Greatest Comebacks of All Time under the title "Cardinals Blow It"/"Monday Night Meltdown", as well as Top Ten Meltdowns at #7.Brian Billick
Brian Harold Billick (born February 28, 1954) is a former National Football League coach and commentator. Billick spent nine seasons as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens from January 19, 1999 to December 31, 2007; he led the Ravens to a 34–7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. He was also the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings (1994–1998) when they broke the scoring record in the 1998 season.David Shaw (American football)
David Lorenzo Shaw (born July 31, 1972) is the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal football team. Shaw was the team's offensive coordinator for the entire tenure of head coach Jim Harbaugh from 2007 to 2010. Previously, Shaw was a four-year letter winner playing as a wide receiver for the Cardinal from 1991 to 1994, where he was coached by Dennis Green and Bill Walsh. Prior to returning to Stanford as offensive coordinator, Shaw was Harbaugh's passing game coordinator at the University of San Diego and an assistant coach in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, and Baltimore Ravens.Dennis Green (canoeist)
Dennis Allan Green (26 May 1931 – 5 September 2018) was an Australian sprint canoeist, surf lifesaver, coach and sporting administrator who competed from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. He was the first Australian to compete in five Summer Olympics, and he won a bronze medal in the K-2 10000 m event at Melbourne in 1956. He also won 57 Gold Medals at the World Masters Games and a further 75 at national level.Francis Peay
Francis G. Peay (May 23, 1944 – September 21, 2013) was an American football offensive tackle and head coach.
Peay played college football at the University of Missouri and was selected in the first round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He also played for the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
After his playing career, Peay served as the head football coach at Northwestern University from 1986 to 1991. He was the second black head coach in the Big Ten Conference, after his predecessor Dennis Green. His coaching record at Northwestern was 13 wins, 51 losses, and two ties. This ranks him 12th at Northwestern in total wins and 24th at Northwestern in winning percentage. He was succeeded at Northwestern in 1992 by Gary Barnett.
Peay died September 21, 2013 at the age of 69.List of Northwestern Wildcats football seasons
This is a list of seasons completed by the Northwestern Wildcats football team of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Since the team's creation in 1882, the Wildcats have participated in more than 1,100 officially sanctioned games, including 9 bowl games.
Northwestern originally competed as a football independent. As one of the founding members, Northwestern joined the Big Ten conference, then known as the Western Conference, in 1896, where it has been a member ever since.
The Wildcats have experienced futility for much of its existence. The team has several winless seasons, including setting a NCAA Division I record for consecutive losses when it lost 34 straight games from 1979 to 1982. The Wildcats went 64 years without winning a bowl game after the 1949 Rose Bowl. Northwestern has also experienced success, winning eight conference titles.Sacramento Mountain Lions
The Sacramento Mountain Lions were a professional American football team based in Sacramento, California that played in the United Football League. The franchise originated as the California Redwoods, and played its home games in San Francisco and San Jose before relocating to Hornet Stadium in Sacramento in 2010, then to Raley Field in West Sacramento in 2012. The team was coached by Dennis Green for three of its four years of existence. Amid financial problems, the UFL abruptly folded in the middle of the 2012 season.
# denotes interim head coach
|Current league affiliation|
Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor