Kevin Greene remembered by locals

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Although Kevin Greene, who died Dec. 21, will be remembered as an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker with 160 career sacks, and coach, he will be remembered by Destin locals as a friend, gentle giant and encourager.

Greene, who stood 6 feet, 3 inches tall, lived in Destin for a number of years and got involved with the community.

In 2003, he helped coach the Destin Dolphin peewee football team. 

Muri Kersanac, who was recreation director for the city at the time, recalls that when the other volunteer coaches heard Greene was going to coach, "they all wanted to be his assistant." 

Brian Beauchamp, Kevin Greene, Jimmy Fell and Todd Watson (from left) are seen at an Atlanta Falcons game.

Kersanac, like many, described Greene as a "gentle giant," noting it wasn't unusual to see him down on a knee tying a shoe of one of the peewee players.

More:Jan. 2014 - Will former NFL'er Kevin Greene return to Destin?

Kyle Jarosewicz, who played on that peewee team, used the same words to describe Greene.

"Kevin Greene was a gentle giant. I don't believe he ever said anything that wasn't encouraging," he said. 

Jarosewicz said Greene never let a good job on the playing or practice field go unnoticed.

"He would always hand out those helmet stickers to everyone doing good ... nobody got ignored," Jarosewicz said. "One day, I hyperextended my knee at practice and he personally came to my house to make sure I was all right while my mother was bedridden.

"Kevin Greene was a big man with an even bigger heart," Jarosewicz added.

Jimmy Fell, who coached in the Destin Dolphin youth football program for years, called Greene a friend.

Kevin Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

"Kevin Greene was a lot of things to a lot of people. But what I remember most is that he was a man of true faith, devoted husband and loving father. Faith, family, football, in that order," Fell said.

"Kevin was also there for people," he added. "A true friend in every sense of the word and loved helping people. No one forgets meeting Kevin Greene. He always made a point to make everyone he talked to believe they were the most important person in the room. He is loved by so many, and although he will be missed, everyone who knew him knows we were truly blessed to have had someone in our life like Kevin Greene."

More:2017 - Former Niceville coach Kevin Greene hired by New York Jets

Brandon Edelman, now 22, said he was glad to have known Greene.

Edelman was on his peewee Dolphin football team as well as on the Niceville football team when Greene served as an assistant in 2015.

Kevin Greene played in the NFL from 1985 to 1999.

"It was awesome. He was a great coach from day one," Edelman said. "He was a great person, always good to be around ... always bringing some good energy to the table. It was great being around him, and his son (Gavin), he was just like him," Edelman said.

As for a lasting impression, Edelman said, "He was a big ol' tackler guy ... so when I'm playing football, I'm hitting hard ... playing with full heart and passion for the game."

Greene was 58. He is survived his wife Tara, son Gavin, and daughter Gabrielle.