Pioneer of Cal Lutheran Track Program Dead at 75

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Don Green, who coached 44 All-Americans during his 21 years as architect of the Cal Lutheran track and field team, died this week at Simi Valley Hospital after a long illness. He was 75.

Green, who had been ill for more than a year, died Wednesday afternoon.

In a career that spanned nearly a half-century, Green also coached football and track at Pomona High, leading the track team to a 117-meet winning streak.

Bob Seagren, gold medalist in the 1968 Olympic Games, was one of his athletes.

In 1970, after 20 years at Pomona, Green moved to Thousand Oaks, inheriting a Cal Lutheran track team that had never won a meet.

After the Kingsmen dropped Green's first meet, they won 98 in a row over the next 15 seasons while competing in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Green, who has been inducted into the Mt. San Antonio Relays and Southern Section halls of fame, also was an assistant football coach at Cal Lutheran for nine years and athletic director for five in the 1970s.

However, he left the school acrimoniously, filing an age-discrimination claim after he was forced to retire in 1991. He felt belittled by the athletic department when it announced his retirement without his consent.

A legion of Green supporters expressed outrage at his ouster. A typical response was voiced by Steve Blum, the Buena High girls' track and cross-country coach and a 1977 Cal Lutheran graduate.

"Coach Green has done too much for that school to toss him away like an old towel," Blum said at the time.

"He touched so many lives in such a positive way. I could not have been a successful coach without his help and advice."

Green estimated that 80 of his former athletes became coaches, including his two sons.

Art Green, 41, led the Thousand Oaks High girls' team to 14 Marmonte League title in 17 years before leaving the job before this season, in part to assist his ailing father.

Doni Green, 43, compiled a 62-1 record in eight seasons at Simi Valley High and was his father's assistant for four years before taking over the Moorpark College program in 1991.

"My life is patterned after his," Doni Green said Thursday. "I'm trying to remember the days I was coaching with him. I want to forget about the sick part and remember the other times."

Besides his two sons, Green is survived by his wife Beverly, 74, and daughters Leanne, 47, and Joy, 45. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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