Wildcats to Hold Series of Winter Baseball Camps in December
After directing the best offense in college baseball and Kentucky history in 2014, Brian Green is in his seventh season as the assistant coach for the Kentucky baseball program.
UK's offensive coordinator and infield defensive coach, Green completed his sixth season with the Wildcats in 2014.
During his time in Lexington, Green has guided one of the top offensive units in the nation, with the Wildcats consistently boasting a well-rounded approach among the Southeastern Conference leaders. Green has implemented an offensive style that puts emphasis on speed and athleticism, with an aggressive approach at the plate and on the base paths, a system that proved to brilliantly foreshadow the NCAA change in bats.
Green, a four-year assistant coach at UCLA, came to UK as one of the top hitting instructors in college baseball. A tenacious recruiter, Green had tremendous success while on the West Coast as the recruiting coordinator with traditional power UCLA, where he recruited the bulk of the Bruins recent national championship.
One of the top offensive minds in the college coaching ranks, Green's previous assistant stops included two years at Hawaii and a season at each Oregon State and San Diego, also spending at least a year at Chapman University, Cal Poly-Pomona, Riverside Community College and New Mexico State.
MAKING HISTORY IN 2014 Green's 2014 offense was the best in the nation, ranking as the NCAA leader, among Bowl Championship Series conferences, in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, scoring offense and slugging percentage.
Kentucky's dynamic offense led the Southeastern Conference in eight categories, ranking in the top three in the SEC in 10 of the 13 major categories. UK led the league in average (.299), slugging (.446), on-base percentage (.398), runs (472), RBI (423), homers (60) and hit batters (109). UK also ranked second in the SEC in hits (655) and doubles (121), while ranking third in walks (268).
Kentucky's offensive attack was unquestionably the tops in the league, owning a 36-point advantage in slugging, a 29-point margin in on-base percentage, 67 more runs and RBI, and 18 more homers than the next closest team. UK's .844 OPS was 62 points higher than the second-place team.
UK's season as the SEC leader in RBI marked a first in program history. UK led the SEC in average for the second time in UK history, in homers for the fourth time, in runs for the second time and in slugging for the fifth time in school annals.
Green's offensive approach in 2014 was spearheaded by a focus on situational hitting, two-strike approaches and quality at-bats. UK finished as the SEC leader in pinch-hitting average (.388), two-out hitting (.310) and two-out RBI (167), also reaching base as the leadoff hitter in 39 percent of its chances.
Overall in the NCAA, UK finished ranks third in runs, fourth in homers, fifth in scoring and hits, sixth in hit batters and on-base percentage, eighth in slugging and ninth in doubles.
REED AMONG TOP PLAYERS IN COLLEGE BASEBALL HISTORY A native of Temecula, Calif., Green's dynamic offense was paced by one of the best players in the history of college baseball, two-way star AJ Reed.
Reed transformed his body after a first-team All-SEC season in 2013 into a chiseled 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame that shined as a junior. Reed finished the year leading college baseball in homers, slugging and OPS, while becoming the first player in SEC history to lead the league in homers and wins.
The first pick of the second round in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, Reed was named the Dick Howser Trophy Award winner, the Baseball America College Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball's Player of the Year and the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year. The first national player of the year in Kentucky history, Reed also won the 2014 John Olerud Award, given to the nation's top two-way player. In addition, Reed was named SEC Player of the Year by the conference coaches and SEC Male Athlete of the Year by the league athletics directors.
MLB IMPACT Green has transformed the Kentucky offensive attack into a proving ground for professional baseball, as a school-record 23 position players have been drafted or signed a pro contract in his time at UK, including four position player draftees in 2014.
Kentucky saw Reed go to the Astros to open the second round, with centerfielder Austin Cousino going in the third round to the Seattle Mariners. Reed and Cousino marked the highest drafted position player duo in program history. Third baseman Max Kuhn, who had three at-bats as a freshman, and hit under .250 as a sophomore, was a 13th round pick in the draft by the Athletics. Kuhn finished 2014 leading the SEC and all BCS conferences in runs scored, becoming the first UK player to lead in the SEC in runs since Billy White in 1988.
Fifth-year senior Micheal Thomas was also picked in the 2014 MLB Draft, going to the Detroit Tigers, with senior shortstop Matt Reida signing with the Tampa Bay Rays as an undrafted free agent.
Green's shortstop at UCLA, Brandon Crawford, has solidified himself as one of the best young shortstops in the big leagues while playing with the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Overall, 24 position players since 2004 - at UK and UCLA - improved their draft stock under Green's guidance.
INFIELD DEFENSE In addition to his recruiting duties and ability as UK's offensive coordinator, Green also serves as UK's infield defensive coach. Green has coached some of the most talented infielders in Kentucky history since 2009, while also coaching UCLA's infield for four seasons, with Crawford, Jermaine Curtis and Alden Carrithers earning All-Pac-10 honors under his guidance.
At Kentucky, Green's 2009 middle infield of shortstop Chris Wade and second baseman Chris Bisson became the first in the 120-year history of the program to each earn All-SEC honors. Taylor Black led SEC shortstops in defensive assists, with Reida serving as a three-year starter at shortstop. Second baseman J.T. Riddle also shined defensively at second base, leading all SEC second baseman in assists over his three years at the keystone.
In 2014, Green's defense led the SEC and ranked third in the NCAA in double plays turned, with Reida and freshmen second baseman JaVon Shelby and Connor Heady forming a new double-play tandem.
Green was honored as a featured speaker at the 2010 American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Green's presentation was on infield defense and double-play specifics, presented in front of an estimated 5,000 coaches.
RECRUITING DYNAMO An overlooked element of Green's daily impact on the growth of the Kentucky baseball program has been his ability, and tireless work ethic on the recruiting trail.
During his time at Kentucky, Green has helped Henderson and fellow UK assistant Brad Bohannon welcome the best classes in program history, while also shining as UCLA's recruiting coordinator that beefed up the roster for the Bruins national title run.
In his first season, Green helped UK secure the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America, a new Kentucky record. UK then ranked No. 6 in 2010, No. 16 in 2011, No. 25 in 2012 - a class that featured Reed, Cousino and righty Chandler Shepherd - No. 11 in 2013 and No. 25 in 2014.
In his two seasons as the UCLA recruiting coordinator, Green helped secure the No. 13 and No. 7 best recruiting classes in the nation in the fall of 2006 and fall of 2007, respectively, as ranked by Baseball America. Green also played a large role in assisting UCLA land the No. 5 ranked recruiting class in 2005, as rated by Baseball America.
FORESHADOWING THE BBCOR ERA Using an offensive philosophy geared towards utilizing the athletic ability of his hitters, Green has turned UK's offensive attack into a high-energy threat. In 2010, UK ran all over the base paths, leading the SEC with an eye-popping 120 stolen bases, with Bisson leading the league with 32 stolen bases and Neiko Johnson ranking fourth with 24 stolen bags in just 21 starts.
During the 2011 campaign, Green's offensive approach shined with the new NCAA bat standards, as the Wildcats finished the year ranked second in the SEC in slugging percentage, doubles, homers and total bases, with UK leading the league in hit by pitches and ranking fourth in average and fifth in stolen bases.
Individually in 2011, Green's tutelage could be seen in the development of outfielder Chad Wright, who transformed into one of the top hitters in the nation, signing as a ninth-round MLB Draft pick of the Tigers after his junior season. Green also worked closely to help third baseman Thomas McCarthy bat .371 with seven homers and 39 RBI in his first year as a junior college transfer. McCarthy earned first-team All-SEC honors, the first UK third sacker to earn first-team All-SEC accolades since 1972.
Green's 2012 UK team was a historic campaign, as the Wildcats won a school-record 45 games, soared to No. 1 for three weeks for the first time in UK history, and equaled their best finishes in the NCAA and SEC Tournaments in program annals. His 2012 offensive approach finished the season ranked No. 3 in the SEC in average (.294), No. 2 in slugging (.433), No. 2 in on-base percentage (.380), No. 2 in runs scored (383), No. 1 in hits (641), No. 2 in RBI (351), No. 1 in doubles (123), No. 2 in homers (56) and No. 2 in totals bases (942).
His offensive tutelage could be seen directly in the individual 2012 output from freshman All-Americans Cousino and Reed. Catcher Luke Maile earned All-SEC honors after leading UK with 12 homers and 51 RBI.
GETTING GREEN TO LEXINGTON When UK head coach Gary Henderson served as the head coach of Chapman University (Calif.) in 1993, Green was a player. After finishing out his playing career at New Mexico State, Green embarked on a coaching career at his alma mater, serving as a student assistant. Green and Henderson reconnected in 2001, as Green served as the volunteer assistant at Oregon State when Henderson was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
Green helped lead the UCLA Bruins to 115 wins in four years, posting 33 wins in his last three seasons. Green had a huge impact in recruiting the bulk of the Bruins roster, in addition to coordinating the UCLA infield defense and overseeing the Bruins offensive attack.
Green's instruction as the infield coach the past four seasons had tangible results, as Bruins cornerstone infielders Curtis (third base) and Crawford (shortstop) earned All-Pac-10 recognition all four years. Likewise, second baseman Carrithers gained All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades in 2007 before earning All-Pac-10 honors in 2008.
The Bruins turned a Pac-10-leading 65 double plays in 2008, as Crawford and Carrithers helped steady UCLA's defense up the middle.
In 2007, Green guided UCLA's hitters to a .296 batting average and 51 home runs, the fourth-highest total in the Pac-10 Conference. That spring, Gabe Cohen compiled a .345 batting average, belting 10 home runs and totaling 36 RBI to earn Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year honors with USC shortstop Grant Green.
Green helped lead the Bruins to three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances, a first in school history, advancing to the Super Regionals in 2007. In 2006, Green's infielders contributed to UCLA's .977 fielding percentage, tops in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation. Crawford earned freshman All-America honors that season before playing for the USA National Team in the summer of 2006. Curtis gained All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors after leading all Bruin starters with a .325 batting average.
While serving as an assistant at the University of Hawaii in 2003 and 2004, Green doubled as the team's hitting instructor, infield coach and baserunning coach. He also assisted with recruiting efforts. In 2004, Green helped Hawaii head coach Mike Trapasso earn 2004 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors, and in 2003 he coached two Warriors who earned Freshman All-America accolades.
Prior to his time at Hawaii, Green was an assistant at the University of San Diego for the 2002 season. Green helped the Toreros capture their first West Coast Conference title in school history, as USD led the conference in batting average, runs scored, walks and fewest strikeouts. Head coach Rich Hill gained WCC Coach of the Year honors that season.
In the summers of 2001 and 2002, Green served as head coach of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers of the Alaskan Summer Baseball League. In 2001, Green's Oilers became the only Alaskan League team to defeat the U.S. National Team, winning 4-1.
Green also spent time as a volunteer assistant in 2001 at Oregon State as well as serving stints at Chapman University, Cal Poly Pomona and Riverside Community College. At Chapman in 2000, Green helped lead the school to a third-place finish at the Division III World Series. In 1999, he helped lead Chapman to a 39-5 overall finish. That season, Green guided the Panthers' infield corps, which led the nation in double plays turned.
In 1994, Green began his coaching career, serving as a student assistant at his alma mater, New Mexico State. He played two years of Division I baseball - one at Chapman (1993) and one at New Mexico State (1994). Green spent his first two collegiate seasons playing at Riverside Community College (1991-92).
GREEN AT HOME Green, 41, graduated from New Mexico State with a degree in business management in 1995 and earned his Master's degree in education from National University in 1997.
He is married to the former Becki Francis. The couple resides with their daughters, Emily Rae (10) and Zoe Addison (four) in Lexington.
QUOTING NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AJ REED
"BG has been a great influence on my baseball career. From the moment I stepped onto campus, he was committed to doing everything in his power to make me a better man and baseball player. As a freshman, BG helped ease me into college baseball and helped me take a step towards pro baseball as a sophomore. After my sophomore season didn't go as well as I, or our team, could have hoped, BG never gave up on me and just went to work to help myself and our team reach its potential. In the offseason before my junior year, BG really emphasized improving my opposite-field and two-strike approaches which helped me take my game to another level. A lot of the credit for the progress I made as a junior can go to BG and his constant dedication to make me a better player. And off the field, BG is always going to be a close friend and someone I can always reach out to for advice."
QUOTING FORMER UK STAR AUSTIN COUSINO
"Coach Green is one of the biggest reasons for the development of my baseball career at Kentucky. He understood and worked personally with each player and myself on their swing, defense and their mental approach to the game. The knowledge he brought to the field helped us to the most successful three years in Kentucky baseball. His care for me away from field is what is the most special and unique part of our relationship. I know I can count on him to always be there for me."
QUOTING UK GREAT CHAD WRIGHT
On his relationship with coach Brian Green ... "I came in and dreamed of playing here. When I got here I had a lot to prove. With the help of coach Green, we spent a ton of time in the cages and he helped push me to get better every day to try to make it to the next level. He is one of those guys that is easy to talk to and he really bonds with his players really good. With that kind of personality you can grow really close to him. He really helps you make the adjustment easier from high school to college. From all the pro guys that I have talked to, they are really envious of the relationship we have with coach Green. He is one of the guys."
On how Green's offense can help showcase athletic players talents ... "Obviously when you are a base stealer and someone who gets on base and scores a lot of runs, you want to play for that type of offense. And coach Green's offense played right into my game. He let us run when we wanted to and he had faith in us to do the right things on the bases at the right time. When he shows that confidence in you, it helps you gain confidence in yourself. That was key for me throughout my time at Kentucky."
On playing in the SEC ... "Playing in the SEC, obviously everyone knows is the best conference in college baseball, it doesn't matter who you talk to. Playing there and seeing the pitching and the competition that you have week in and week out, it really prepares you for the competition at the next level."
San Francisco Giants SS and World Series Hero Brandon Crawford on Brian Green
NOTE: During his time as the recruiting coordinator, hitting and infield coach at UCLA (2005-08), Brian Green recruited and coached All-American shortstop Brandon Crawford. Crawford helped lead the San Fransico Giants to the World Series Title in 2012 with clutch hitting and emerged as one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball. Below, Crawford talks about Green's impact on his career and their continued relationship.
On his relationship with coach Green during the recruiting process at UCLA ... "I was getting recruited by a lot of schools. UCLA was up there, along with a couple others. Greeny was someone that I liked because he was so easy to talk to. I could just tell after talking with him a few times that I was going to be able to get along with him. I didn't know much about his experience at that time, but I could just tell that he was someone I could get along with as a coach and be friends with long after he was my coach, which we still are."
On the importance of developing defensively in college ... "Defense was always fun for me. In high school, I always loved taking ground balls and I was pretty good defensively but going to UCLA, I wanted to stay at shortstop. I was getting bigger and I wanted to stay at shortstop and still be able to keep my range and make plays. Greeny helped a lot with my footwork. That was the first time I had ever really heard about rhythm in the infield and he helped me out that way a lot."
On Green's ability to help his develop a pitch-by-pitch focus defensively ... "I have come a long ways. I don't think I was ever an up and down player. I would try my best to take it pitch by pitch but Greeny really harped on that while we were at UCLA. He said that `you can't worry about the pitch before, the at bat before or the error you made earlier that inning. You have to focus on the next pitch and figure out a way to wipe off whatever happened before and focus on the next pitch,' and I have been able to take that to the big league level."
On his short-game during college and reaping the rewards with a clutch bunt in the World Series ... "I think that was just another weapon that I can use and anyone can use if you get good at it. It doesn't even matter how fast you are if you can put it down where you want you can get a base hit. It is huge for anybody. I was a decent bunter in high school and I did bunt a lot at UCLA. A lot of them were for hits and a lot of them were on my own. I ended up getting a lot of sacrifices my junior year, which I kind of give coach Green a hard time about, but obviously it was huge. It was something I worked on a lot in college and I had to use it in one of the biggest at bats of my career in the World Series and I got it down."
On Green's personality as a coach and ability to relate to young, talented players ... "You just feel comfortable with him as a player. You can go up and talk to him about anything. It may not be baseball related. He is just an easy guy to get along with and that is what you want in a coach. You don't want to be scared to go talk to them you want to have a conversation with them and be buddies with them afterwards."
GREEN QUICK NOTES
* During Green's previous four years in Lexington, UK has had 18 total position players picked in the MLB Draft or sign a free agent contact, the most position players drafted in UK baseball history over a four-year period.
* Since arriving in Lexington before the 2009 season, Green has had a dynamic offensive approach with an emphasis on speed and athleticism, with his style helping ease UK into the NCAA transition of the new bat standards in 2011.
* Led UK to a historic 2012 season, ranking among the top three in the SEC in nearly every offensive category, including checking in No. 3 in the SEC in average (.294), No. 2 in slugging (.433), No. 2 in on-base percentage (.380), No. 2 in runs scored (383), No. 1 in hits (641), No. 2 in RBI (351), No. 1 in doubles (123), No. 2 in homers (56) and No. 2 in totals bases (942).
* Green has guided some of the top hitters in program history of the last four years, including junior college sluggers Taylor Black, Luke Maile, Thomas McCarthy, Lance Ray, and local standouts Chris Wade and Chad Wright.
* Green's offensive tutelage can be seen directly in the three-year career of Wright, who hit .339 (211-for-623) with 36 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 100 RBI, stealing 38 bases.
* Under Green's guidance, Wade earned freshman All-America honors, while also earned All-SEC accolades, with Wright and Chris Bisson also earned All-SEC honors during their time working with Green.
* While the recruiting coordinator at UCLA, Green recruited the corp of the Bruins roster that advanced to the 2010 College World Series, also making highly successful assistant coaching stops at Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego State, New Mexico State, Chapman College, Cal Poly Pomona and Riverside Community College.
* While at San Diego in 2002, Green helped the Toreros capture the first West Coast Conference title in school annals, as USD led the league in average, runs scored, walks and fewest strikeouts.
* Green's coaching ability can be seen in the development of San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. Crawford earned All Pac-10 honors while at UCLA under Green, with Crawford belting 20 homers and totaling 136 RBI in three years for the Bruins.