Dr. Tim Green, East Central University’s director of athletics from 1981-2006, died Tuesday at the age of 74 after a lengthy illness.
“Everybody told me he was the nicest guy I would ever meet,” said Brian DeAngelis, current ECU athletic director. “He was exactly that. He was very sincere, very caring and he really loved the university.”
Green oversaw ECU’s transition from the NAIA ranks to NCAA Division II and saw many of its athletic teams excel on the national level.
He was voted NAIA District 9 Athletic Administrator of the Year for 1990 to 1991.
Green’s passion was instructing future teachers how to teach children to read, a job he held at ECU for 10 years prior to taking over the athletic director’s position. He continued to work with future teachers even after becoming athletic director.
In 1974, Green served as faculty representative to ECU’s athletic conference (Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference) and became athletic director when the school’s previous director unexpectedly died.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 1959 when he was a starting right fielder on the university’s 1959 NCAA national championship baseball team.
Green and his teammates were named to the OSU Hall of Honor and he was inducted into the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
During his tenure as athletic director, ECU won its only national championship in football in 1993 and the men’s and women’s basketball teams made numerous appearances at the NAIA national tournament.
That 1993 national football championship season, under the direction of Hank Walbrick, saw the Tigers roll to three straight playoff wins, including a 49-35 decision over Glenville State (W. Va.) in the title game.
In men’s basketball, coach Wayne Cobbs’s Tigers reached the NAIA national finals before falling to St. Mary’s (Texas) in the 1989 title game.
The Tigers also made national tournament appearances three straight years from 1996 to 1998.
“I’ve never been around a better person than Tim Green. He was as a good a person as you would want to work with and work for,” said Cobb. “A lot of people like to give advice. When he gave advice, you paid real close attention. If everybody in the world was like him, you wouldn’t have police. He was very knowledgeable about athletics, something that I don’t think a lot of people gave him enough credit for.
“He was part of a national championship team (at OSU) and very few people ever knew. He always bragged on me or another coach, but he never bragged on himself. He was in a class of his own.”
The women’s team, under head coach Kent Franz, also made three straight appearances at the NAIA national tournament from 1996 to 1998.
The 1996 to 1997 squad achieved its highest national ranking ever at No. 5 and had a school-best 30-5 record.
“What an extraordinary man he was. He was a Christian man who lived his life the right way,” said Franz, who just wrapped up his 20th season at that post. “He gave me my start at East Central University as a coach. He was an incredible mentor throughout his years as an athletic director and beyond. The East Central family, and those whose lives he has touched, will sorely miss him.”
Green also oversaw the addition of four sports at ECU — women’s and men’s cross country, along with women’s soccer and softball — during his tenure.
“I worked with Dr. Green for many years. He definitely made covering East Central sports more enjoyable. If I ever needed anything, he was right there to help. He was a positive influence on me and everyone he came in contact with,” said Ada Evening News Sports Editor Jeff Cali.
After earning his degree from OSU, Green earned a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark. His doctorate is from the University of Oklahoma.
He was editor of Oklahoma Reader for the Oklahoma Reading Association for 25 years and served on the Board of Directors for Valley View Regional Hospital in Ada.
He is survived by his wife Paula. Both are members of Ada Central Church of Christ.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday at Ada Central Church of Christ. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dr. Tim Green Centennial Scholarship Fund through the East Central University Foundation Inc. or to Compassion Outreach, through the Central Church of Christ.
See Thursday's edition of Ada Evening News for a full obituary.