Green Named Illini Secondary Coach
Former Illini returns to alma mater following pro career -2/2/99
Former Fighting Illini cornerback Chris Green has returned to his alma mater as defensive backs coach at the University of Illinois, it was announced earlier today by Head Coach Ron Turner. Green, 30, was a four-year starter at defensive back at Illinois from 1987-90, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors in 1989. Green finished second in the Big Ten with 11 passes broken up in 1989 and, despite missing the first seven games of his senior season with an injury, returned to help lead the Illini to a Big Ten Conference co-championship in 1990.
"Chris Green is a bright, young, up-and-coming coach," said Turner. "He has great enthusiasm and energy and is a guy that our players will relate to as a former Illini who was successful on the field and in the classroom. Our players will also relate to his experiences as a player in the National Football League."
Green, a native of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was drafted in the seventh round of the 1991 National Football League draft by the Miami Dolphins. Green played four seasons with the Dolphins (1991-94) and one year with the Buffalo Bills (1995). In Miami, Green played defensive back for two seasons, moving into the starting lineup in 1992. Following a knee injury, Green moved to safety for his last two seasons with the Dolphins, helping Miami reach the AFC playoffs three times. In 1995, Green moved to Buffalo and helped the Bills reach the playoffs. In five pro seasons, Green was a part of four playoff squads and played under legendary coaches Don Shula and Marv Levy.
After redshirting in 1986, Green moved into the starting lineup for Coach Mike White in 1987 at strong safety, making 55 tackles and picking off two passes. Under Coach John Mackovic in 1988, Green moved into the starting lineup at cornerback, racking up 65 tackles, including 47 solos with two interceptions, seven passes broken up and five touchdown saves. In 1989, Green earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with 56 tackles and 11 passes broken up and was part of a defensive back unit that led the Big Ten in pass defense and ranked second nationally.
"This process happened very quickly and worked out very well," said Green. "I've been keeping close track of Illinois football since I left in 1991. I'm excited about working with Coach Turner and the staff to help return Illinois football to where we had it when I was playing here. There were 24 players in my 1986 recruiting class. Of the entire group, two guys transferred and the other 22 earned our degrees on time, won a lot of games and a Big Ten title and have remained close to this day. That's the type of spirit I'm looking for in our players and I can't wait to get to work at my alma mater."
In 1990, Green returned from injury in dramatic fashion, stripping the ball from former high school teammate Chris Dyer on the goal line to preserve an Illini victory at Indiana. Two years before, Green had stripped Hoosier QB Dave Schnell with less than two minutes to play, setting up another dramatic Illini victory over Indiana.
After being drafted by the Dolphins, Green played four seasons in Miami and one in Buffalo before retiring after the 1996 AFC playoffs. In 1997, Green coached defensive backs at Eastern Illinois and moved to Kent State in a similar role last fall.