Longtime Morgan Hill coach and educator Jim Green’s ability to motivate and mentor young students and athletes throughout his 45-year-plus career was evident in the turnout of generations of supporters who packed the visitors’ side of Britton Gymnasium for a June 2 ceremony renaming the facility in his honor.
Green grew up in San Carlos and began his teaching career with Morgan Hill Unified School District in 1977—first at Martin Murphy Middle School, then Live Oak before settling down at Britton Middle School in 1995 for the rest of his tenure. He taught Physical Education, ASB Leadership and athletics, and coached legions of youth basketball, baseball and softball players—many who still keep in touch with Green.
Green retired from MHUSD about 10 years ago, but has remained active in various roles—including as a part-time instructor and the founder of South County Basketball Academy, a year-round basketball program and summer camp for boys and girls.
Recently, the MHUSD Board of Education voted to rename the Britton Gym—which was built in 1960—after “Coach” Green. The district formally celebrated the name change at the gym on June 2, where more than 100 of Green’s friends, family and former students, players, colleagues, rivals and teammates—of all ages—gathered to appreciate his legacy.
“Coach Green is synonymous with passion, dedication and excellence,” Britton Middle School Principal Nanette Donahue said at the June 2 ceremony. “Throughout the years, Coach Green has been not only a mentor, but also a beacon of inspiration, instilling in each individual the values of discipline, teamwork and perseverance. Beyond the wins and accolades, Coach Green’s greatest legacy lies in the profound impact he has made in the lives of students and athletes, instilling in them values that transcend the boundaries of the playing field.”
The ceremony featured a ribbon cutting preceded by a host of speakers who have known Green since his career with MHUSD began. All agreed it was a no-brainer to name the Britton Gym after the longtime educator.
MHUSD Trustee Nancy Altman, who worked alongside Green as a former teacher and assistant principal at Britton, described how he put forth extra effort to make sure everyone—counting students with disabilities—felt included in the classroom and on the playing field, and had a unique ability to “take away all the horrors of middle school P.E.”
“He always focused on finding opportunities for students to be successful,” Altman said. “He always made sure my students were OK in the locker room, and students with severe disabilities were involved in P.E. This is a side of him people don’t always see.”
Many of those who spoke at the June 2 ceremony were taught or coached by Green more than 30 years ago, and still keep in touch with him—even if they now live hundreds of miles away.
“Coach has cultivated a culture of showing up for each other, celebrating milestones, keeping connected—and we’re just so proud,” said Sheryl Yardley, who was coached by Green in 1989.
A plaque unveiled at the ceremony, which will soon be posted to the Britton Gym’s wall, reads, “With extraordinary appreciation and in recognition of Coach Jim Green’s 46 years to our school community and the City of Morgan Hill, we hereby establish Coach Green’s Gymnasium at Britton Middle School.”
In remarks accepting the honor, Green quipped, “Thank you very much to all you people who think ‘Jim’s Gym’ is a cute idea.”
He also listed some of the coaches and teachers who inspired him into a long and rewarding career.
“I had great mentors. The opportunity to take that role and do it for a career has been joyous,” Green told the crowd June 2. “You thanked me and I appreciate it, but I want to thank you for the opportunity.”