A look back at Green’s time with Duke’s basketball program | News, Sports, Jobs
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article appeared in The Post-Journal in March 1997, when Jamestown native Kirsten Green was senior student manager for Duke’s men’s basketball team. With Mike Krzyzewski coaching his final match at the Cameron Indoor Stadium tonight, it was felt fitting to kickstart history. Now Deputy Director of Special Projects Athletics at Harvard University, Kirsten’s professional career in collegiate athletics also includes stops at Seton Hall University and the University of Michigan.
When you’re in high school, it’s not easy to muster up the courage to write a letter to a college you haven’t even enrolled in yet and ask for a job.
On top of that, it wasn’t your average 10 hour week job, I can’t wait for it to be over. On the contrary. The job Kirsten Green of Jamestown was applying for — at the repeated request of her father, Larry — was manager of the Duke University men’s basketball team.
She thought she was one of hundreds who wanted to get such a job, so early correspondence was almost obligatory. But as teenagers are known to do, she dithered.
Yet a familiar voice kept urging him to do so.
“All they can do is say ‘no'” his father kept telling him. “All they can do is say ‘no’.”
Fast forward 3¢ years.
Kirsten is nearing the end of her fourth season with the Blue Devils – she landed the manager’s job shortly after arriving in Durham, North Carolina in the fall of 1993 – as one of two top executives from one of the most visible and successful colleges in the country. basketball programs.
Aside from the obvious perks — seeing college basketball at its finest, traveling, and rubbing shoulders with Mike Krzyzewski, Tommy Amaker and Trajan Langdon — Kirsten has found more in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium than just championship banners and retired jerseys. .
She found an extended family.
At Krzyzewski’s insistence, everyone involved in the basketball program is considered equal – coaches, players and staff. In Coach K’s eyes, Kirsten is as important to the success of the Blue Devils as Langdon. They just have different job descriptions.
“My friend will tease me about being a ‘towel girl.’ Guess I should defend myself and say I’m a ‘beverage technician,'” Kirsten laughed.
But there’s more to his job description than meets the eye. Duties include keeping statistics during games and practices, assisting with scouting reports and videotaping, recruiting correspondence, and greeting opposing teams as they arrive on campus.
“When we have our (pre-match) meal, Coach K will ask who had the visitors dressing room and ask how they looked and how their mood was.” says Kristen. “Whatever I say, that’s what he’s going to do. He has an incredible ability to trust the people around him.
These kinds of feelings will bind Kirsten to Coach K, Amaker, and the university for the rest of her life.
And it’s probably not a stretch to suggest that the feelings they all have for each other extend beyond what happens on the basketball court.
In fact, when Krzyzewski learned of the passing of Kirsten’s mother, Tina, last September, he called and expressed his condolences over the phone. Meanwhile, the Greens received flowers from “Duke Basketball Family” and also accepted several phone calls from his staff. When she returned to school in October, she received a condolence card signed by all the players.
“These acts of kindness earned Larry high marks for the Blue Devils.
“When I went to Duke in November, I said to Coach K, ‘Thank you so much for taking care of my daughter. I’m not worried about her,’ he said. “And he said, ‘She’s doing such a good job. She’s part of the family.
Of course, Krzyzewski knew firsthand what it was like to lose a parent when his mother passed away last year as well.
“While my mum was sick he would call me at the office and ask how she was doing and ask if there was anything he could do,” Kirsten recalls. “It is a real concern. It’s just amazing with all the things he has to do in his day, he would take the time to worry about someone else.
But that’s how things work at Duke, which is reassuring news for his father.
“I’m not worried about Kirsten at all,” said Larry, whose youngest daughter, Caroline, is a freshman in North Carolina. “I know that she is taken care of as if I were there. That sums up the whole program, (Coach K) is as interested in your child as you would be.
The Blue Devils, who meet Providence today in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, are hoping to make another run at a national championship. After that, Kirsten’s career at Duke will be over and she will start looking for work in sports administration.
With Coach K as one of her references, she shouldn’t have much trouble finding a job she likes.
“He told me that I had to keep him informed and that I had to let him know what he could do to help me,” says Kristen.
Spoken like a real “dad.”