“‘Dennis passed away last night from complications of cardiac arrest,’ Green’s family said in a statement. ‘His family was by his side and he fought hard.’
Green’s Vikings made eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons from 1992 to 2001, reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. He led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season in 1998 and ranks second in franchise history in games coached, wins and winning percentage, trailing Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant in each category.
‘Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach,’ the Vikings said in a statement. ‘He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. 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.'”
In 1981, Green was named the head coach of Northwestern University, where he was the second African American head coach in Division I-A history (Wichita State’s Willie Jeffries was the first). In 1982, Green was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year. He left in 1985 to serve as a receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers under iconic coach Bill Walsh. Following in Walsh’s footsteps, Green became head football coach at Stanford in 1989, leading the team to the Aloha Bowl in 1991, where they lost to Georgia Tech.
On January 10, 1992, Green was named 5th head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the third African-American head coach in the NFL (behind Fritz Pollard and Art Shell). The rest is football history. Green also served as head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.
This post was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.
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