Hall of Famer Joins UMW Team

Former Washington Redskin Darrell Green, considered by many the greatest
cornerback of all time, signed on with the Eagles this spring. “Present-day energy is happening here,” Green said of UMW in late April. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Erica Studio.

One of the Washington Redskins’ all-time greats is now a University of Mary Washington Eagle.

NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, who played pro football for 20 years and helped his team win two Super Bowls, has joined the UMW athletics department on a limited basis as a special assistant for student-athlete development and public relations. The announcement was made at the annual UMW sports award banquet in April.

Green, 53, will be both adviser and mentor for student athletes. Coming to UMW is a way to keep working with young people, he said, which he’s been doing since early in his pro career. In 1988, Green created the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation, which today supports programs for disadvantaged youths in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. “We’re just going to sincerely work to make life better for young people. That’s what I like doing,” he said.

Green’s new role with UMW started early this year, when Green called UMW Athletics Director Ken Tyler to offer his help coaching the school’s track team. Though Green pursued a pro football career, he also earned All America status in the early 1980s as a sprinter at Texas A&I University, now called Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Green said he was drawn to UMW in part because it reminded him of his time at Texas A&I. “It’s so similar to what I came from,” he said. After visiting the campus and talking with Tyler, “it became very evident that we could do more with this. I think that there’s something fresh and new about this place now.”

Tyler jokingly called Green “the best recruit I’ve ever signed.” He said Green will also have a role in recruiting athletes. “It raises our profile, and that’s important,” Tyler said. “When we are able to point to an affiliation and a relationship with Darrell Green, I think that is a great example of our commitment to excellence. And I would hope that prospective student athletes and their families would want to be affiliated with that.”

Tyler said the athletic department is “just beginning a grass-roots development program” and predicts that Green’s involvement will make a big difference in that effort.

As a player, the 5-foot-9-inch Green earned Pro Bowl honors seven times and was a four-time winner of the NFL’s Fastest Man competition. Green’s off-the-field work with young people also won him several awards, including the 1996 NFL Man of the Year award. Green and his wife, Jewell, live in Ashburn, Va., and have three children – Jerrell, Jared, and Joi. All three are either in or just out of college now, and Green said he’s got time on his hands. “We should share what we know and what we do,” he said of his job at UMW. “I’ll look at these kids like they’re my own.”