FWB alumnus E.G. Green named Destin football head coach
DESTIN — Welcome home, E.G. Green.
Nearly 30 years to the day of helping lead Fort Walton Beach to a 39-14 win over St. Thomas Aquinas for the 4A championship — just the beginning an All-American career at FSU and a stint in the NFL for the lauded wideout — Green has been tabbed as the first-ever head football coach at Destin High School.
Simply put, can you say marquee hire?
"First and foremost, E.G. is a high-character individual and a great fit for what this school is about and what we're trying to do here," Destin athletic director Phil Dorn said. "It's obvious his football background and his coaching past speak for themselves, but more than that he believes in the sport and promotes it. He wants to use football to educate kids into being better people.
"Those things really stood out for us. What impressed us is his ability to work with young people, how he engages them and is sincere in looking out for their best interests. The dignity and integrity he carries ... this was a no-brainer."
A no-brainer for both parties, made official by Wednesday's ceremony at Destin High.
Green's coaching chops have taken him all over Florida — Freedom High as offensive coordinator, American Heritage Plantation as wide receivers coach, IMG Academy as the offensive coordinator and offensive coordinator at Booker T. Washington under Charlie Ward — but he's never been head coach.
That all changed with Destin High opening this past year and along with it the upstart football program, which in 2022 will be independent as it awaits FHSAA approval.
"I always tell people this is my home, that Fort Walton and Destin are the same to me," Green said. "I'm so grateful for coach Phil Dorn and the principal for giving me this special opportunity to be head football coach. Especially with my dad coaching and me personally, football has been a great game. It's taken me around the world and allowed me to do things I've never thought I'd be able to do.
"I've worn my cleats and hung them up. Now I'm really more excited about the kids because I know how much they mean to me and football will mean to them. I'm excited that I'll be able to direct and orchestrate that passion and be able to use it more as a tool to grow these young men and grow this program.
"At end of the day, the stars aligned and it made sense."
Currently, the Sharks program is only a "football club." That'll change at the beginning of the new year when Destin High officially gets a football class period and Green and his yet-to-be-hired staff figure out a weight program heading into spring football and their first-ever game against Rocky Bayou.
Green is a household name both because of his football acumen and his father, Ernie. Ernie spent more than 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator for FWB High before passing away last year. Earlier this fall he was named alongside Danny Wuerffel as the inaugural inductees into the Vikings Hall of Fame.
"My dad would have loved to see this," Green said. "I know he would have loved to be head football coach, so for me to return home and accomplish a dream both he and I had, it's very special.
"I just wish he was here."
Like his father, Green is a legend on the Emerald Coast.
Together, he and Wuerffel orchestrated the best aerial attack the Emerald Coast has ever seen. While Wuerffel went off to the University of Florida for SEC titles, a Heisman and a national title, Green's talents at wideout were utilized by Bobby Bowden at FSU.
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After redshirting during the 1993 national championship campaign and showing glimpses of greatness as a freshman, Green emerged onto the national scene as a sophomore in 1995 with 60 receptions for 1,007 yards and 10 touchdowns. Green hauled in 34 passes for 662 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and then shined in his swan song, catching 54 balls for 1,059 yards and 11 touchdowns as he was named 2nd Team All-American by both the Associated Press and the Football News.
Green left FSU as the program's all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 29 in his career, and the Seminoles went 56–6–1 during his five years in garnet and gold.
Now Destin High, currently with around 300 students but expecting to reach 450 next year, will welcome in a proven winner. But the early success won't be determined by the win-loss column for Green, notably the lone Black head football coach in our coverage area.
"We gotta establish a culture and build great young men first and foremost," said Green, still an offensive-minded coach. "We gotta get the right staff in the place and the right people in the building and then we can start evaluating talent and character and see where we're at.
"It all starts with the player and from there we can build a great team. We want to put a product on the field that the community is proud of. I want my guys to be competitive. I want them to compete each and every snap. I want them to be winners on and off the field."
Follow sports editor Seth Stringer on twitter at @SethSnwfdn.