May 2020 Volume 16

Freddie Green: A Man for All Seasons

Everton Bailey
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[ Original article appeared in the January 2010 issue of the KC Times ]

Freddie Green, captain of the 1949 KC Manning Cup football team, the first KC team to win the Manning Cup, and former national player, passed away on April 12, 2020. He was 88.

Born in Stony Hill, Green attended Mico Practicing School where he captained the football team and ran track before entering KC in 1946. During his outstanding tenure at KC, Green had the distinction of representing KC in football, track and cricket which culminated in the historic 1949-50 season when KC swept all three trophies in the aforementioned sports.

“We were tired of losing to Georges, so in 1949 we started training from Easter instead of in the summer,” explained Green. The hard work paid off as, on their way to the title, KC defeated Georges 3-1 at Sabina Park. Green originally started as the inside left on the Manning Cup team but later moved to inside right with the introduction of the gifted Barry Watson. The 1949 team also included legendary coach, George Thompson, who later went on to have a stellar coaching career at the schoolboy, club and national level.

Upon leaving KC, Green was immediately called upon to again serve KC in a new role. In true Fortis tradition, he answered the call without hesitation. “I was shocked when Bishop Gibson asked me to coach the Manning Cup team in 1951,” recalls Green. However, Green’s natural leadership ability, coupled with his keen knowledge of the game and the experience gained under Scottish coach, Mr. Paxton, who coached the KC Manning Cup team, made him a perfect fit for the position.

“Coach Paxton had heart trouble and was advised by his doctor not to watch the Manning Cup matches because they were too stressful so I would summarize the games for him,” said Green. Under Green’s leadership, KC went on to win the 1951 and 1952 Manning Cup titles.

Green later went abroad and studied at the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia where he obtained a degree in physical education. In 1957 he returned to KC where he taught physical education and served as sports master. Green again took over the coaching reins of the Manning Cup team between 1957-60, winning the Manning Cup twice and the Oliver Shield.

“I had a wonderful experience at KC,” reflects Green. “I had the privilege of not just representing the school but, interacting with Bishop Gibson, working as an assistant to G.C. Foster with the track team, and watching Foggy Burrows expertly select runners from mini-track meets.”

After his coaching tenure at KC, Green served as Director of Sports at Mico College between 1960-67; worked in the civil service for the Lands Department and as an agent for First Life Insurance Company before returning to his first love: sports administration. He was Director of Sports for the University of the West Indies between 1972-92; international track and field official of the International Amateur Athletic Federation ("IAAF"), a position he has held for many years; and Secretary of the Inter-Secondary Sports Association (“ISSA”) from 1970 until his retirement in 2005.

“Freddie Green was a great man and one of the greatest athletes to pass through KC. He continuously gave back to KC, particularly in the football and track and field,” says Audley Hewitt of the Florida Chapter, who attended KC in the 1950s and knows Green personally. This statement accurately and succinctly summarizes the invaluable contribution Green made to KC specifically and to Jamaican athletics in general.

Green is survived by wife, Marva, who loving cared for her husband throughout his extended illness, and his three (3) children. Son Robert attended JC and currently works for IBM in Atlanta and coaches soccer part-time. Green said he still gets flak from KC Old Boys about allowing Robert to attend JC and play Manning Cup for JC instead of KC, but he explained that the family was living in Mona at the time and logistically it would have been extremely difficult for Robert to journey to North Street. Daughter Catherine Taylor attended St. Andrews High School where she represented the school in hockey and captained the track team; she is a physiotherapist and also lives in Atlanta. Daughter Denise Lewis also attended St. Andrews High School and lives in Toronto where she works in the accounting field.

A distinguished yet humble man with a gentle spirit, Freddie Green will live on in the annals of Kingston College as one of the greatest ever KC old boys, and he will be remembered for his outstanding service to Jamaica as an athlete and as an administrator.

Rest in eternal peace, legend.

Fortis Forever,

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