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Published: Monday, 2/14/2011

Bowsher grad staying true to love of her game

Basketball star now in coaching ranks

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Bowsher grad Mahogany Green helps call the shots for Central Michigan. Bowsher grad Mahogany Green helps call the shots for Central Michigan.
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- After a standout career at Toledo's Bowsher High School, Mahogany Green moved to the next level and starred at Cleveland State University, where she was a two-time MVP of the team and a two-time selection on the all-conference first-team.

Following that, she played professionally in Turkey, but when that opportunity ran its course, Green was not ready to leave the game she loved.

"For me, I knew right away that I wanted to give coaching a try," Green said. "I had done everything in my playing career I could do, and coaching was the next best thing to playing."

Green, now in her third season as an assistant coach at Central Michigan University, has migrated through the ranks, with stops at Cleveland State as a graduate assistant, three seasons at Eastern Michigan University, and stints at Eastern Kentucky University and Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne.

"I have always been a student of the game, and I feel like I have learned a lot every place I have been," Green said. "I've had the opportunity to work with some very good coaches, teach some really good players, and pick up a lot of knowledge about the game of basketball."

Green, who as a college player had a career-high 37 points in a game against University of Detroit, said her hunger for a better grasp of the nuances of this sport has never waned.

"When I wasn't playing, I was always watching basketball, but not for the entertainment value, but to learn," she said.

"Since I started coaching, that has only intensified. I read books, go to clinics, talk to other coaches, and I study the game -- NBA, college, men's, and women's, everything. I'm always asking why something worked, and why some team was able to do this or that. You can never know too much."

Green finished her college career second in the Vikings' record book with 151 three-point field goals. As a senior, she led Cleveland State in scoring with 15.1 points a game, in rebounding with 7.8 a game, and in assists with 4.64 a game. As a junior, she had just the third triple-double in Cleveland State women's basketball history, with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists against Niagara.

"All through high school and college, I had really good coaches who expected a lot of me, and that's the kind of coach I want to be," Green said. "They were tough, but that's how you have to be. I know what they demanded of me was out of love, and they were trying to make me better. I'm tough, but I always tell my players, 'Listen to what I say, not how I say it.' "

As the top assistant to Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara, Green is responsible for the Chippewas' defensive work, schools the team's guards, and serves as the academic liaison.

"Mahogany has been a very nice addition to our program," Guevara said. "She is a tireless worker and a very organized and defensive-minded coach. She brings a unique perspective to our staff, having been a collegiate and professional player, which helps her relate well to our student-athletes and serve as a good role model for them."

Green, 31, said her resume from her playing days gives her a lot of credibility with the players.

"I'm closer to their age, and the fact I played at the Division I level, and played professionally overseas -- I think they see that I understand the game in today's terms," Green said. "The game is constantly evolving, and I think I can relate to the players in a lot of respects."

Green, who holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, is pursuing a master's degree in sport management and sport psychology.

She said her education in those areas continues to serve her well as she progresses in the coaching ranks toward her ultimate goal.

"I eventually want to be a head coach, so my work and my studies and just about everything I do is focused in that direction," Green said. "The way I look at it, the more I do to make myself a better coach, then the more I can do to make our team better. It's something I work at every hour of every day."

Contact Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6510.



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