South’s Green tabbed Coach of the Year – Lancaster Bee

Posted: March 19, 2020 at 12:44 am


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When you help a team put together a record-setting season, it should come as no surprise to be named the Coach of the Year in your sport.

But even after guiding Williamsville Souths Federation hockey team to a Small Schools championship-game berth and a school-record 18 wins this winter, finding out he had been named the 2019-20 All-Bee Boys Hockey Coach of the Year still caught Sean Green off guard.

Its a completely humbling thing, Green said upon learning of his selection. We play in the strongest section in New York State, and Id put the coaching in this league up against any other section in the state. Youve got to be ready to coach and have the team ready to play because, on any given night, anyone can beat anyone. Im just completely humbled by this, given all of the other good coaches in our league.

I have the easy job, getting to coach the kids, Green continued. For these kids to dedicate hours a week to a sport with so many other things they could be doing, its incredible. I might get this honor but so many more are involved in it, like my assistant coaches Scott Horton and Bill McGowan. I couldnt do it without them, and we do it because we love the sport and love the kids.

Green, who took South to the state final in his debut season, called this winter by far the best single season, on paper, that weve ever had. The Billies, though they lost to Starpoint in that Small Schools title game, constructed an 11-game winning streak heading into that contest en route to finishing the season with a school-record 18 wins overall.

This year we knew would be a special year with the kids we had, but what made a difference this year was the senior leadership and what they brought to the team, Green said. They completely changed the culture of our program for years to come. Their example will carry on to the next group and the next for years to come. Early in the year we talked about how we were an enigma to everyone else; we started winning game after game, carried that on, and just kept believing not hoping that we could win. Its easy to coach guys like that.

Hockey has been a big part of Greens life for many years. He won a couple of national championships through Amherst hockey, played collegiately at Oswego State College and went on to play professionally overseas for a few years before turning to coaching. Along the way, he learned quite a bit and drew bits and pieces from everyone that he worked with to form his own coaching practices and ideals.

I think one of the bigger aspects of my coaching style is that I want players to have their own hockey ability and hockey sense, and not feel stuck in any one style or system, Green said. Theyre the ones in the heat of the battle, so theyll say, Hey, we can do this or that, and that open communication we had with them was so vital to our success. We just try to get the right chemistry all the time, trying to have everyone together and be all inclusive.

And we always try to teach them life lessons as well, Green continued. We all want to win, but during the course of the season there are so many opportunities to teach life lessons. Ive had so many former players come back and tell me how much they enjoyed all the things they did together as a group off the ice as much as they did the games on the ice. It just makes everything so much more satisfying.

Green called beating Kenmore West in overtime in the semifinals his favorite memory of the season, but it wasnt so much for the outcome as it was for the reaction in the locker room afterwards. Similarly, the somberness in the locker room after the finals loss stands out in Greens mind when reflecting on the ups and downs of this past winter.

With so many tough small schools out there, its truly tough to have postseason success, so getting to watch them celebrate after that win over Kenmore West was great, Green said. And then to watch them leave the locker room after the loss to Starpoint but watching the bonds of those guys between the hugs and the tears you could see that they had learned some valuable life lessons. They said goodbye to the season that day but enjoyed the success that we had at the same time.

Green is one to constantly seek out new lessons to learn as well when it comes to better ways to get the most out of his current crop of players. Green, who called Google a wonderful thing, will listen to coaches speeches or podcasts, just to hear how they communicate with their teams. Hell also read up on other things coaches do, just to see if theres a little thing he could take and try and fit into his approach.

You have to constantly be trying to learn and better yourself, Green said. You have to be flexible with what you do we changed up three of our systems this year because of the kids we had in our lineup because thats one of the best ways you can make sure youre doing right by your players. So, for me, just listening to other people is so invaluable.

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South's Green tabbed Coach of the Year - Lancaster Bee

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March 19th, 2020 at 12:44 am

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