When she arrived at Alabama over a decade ago with a proven plan and big dreams for the Crimson Tide volleyball program, she was committed and driven to put Alabama on the national map.
Judy Green knew that she would build a winner at the Capstone, and it certainly didn't take her long. Her first recruiting class posted a 22-8 record as seniors en route to the program's first-ever SEC Western Division title in 2000. From that point, Alabama Volleyball took off, winning a second SEC West title in 2004 and reeling off three consecutive NCAA Championship appearances in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The 2008 season brought along yet another highlight as Green collected her 600th career victory ranking her 16th among active coaches for all-time wins.
While proud of those accomplishments, Green's expectations have not been fully met. Her desire is to develop the Crimson Tide into a perennial challenger for the SEC crown. Every season her focus is to constantly improve and strive to attain higher and loftier goals. Infinitely successful during a decade long tenure at the University of Montevallo, Green never doubted for a moment that she could bring that tradition of winning to Alabama.
"I have never doubted myself," Green said. "I know what it takes to be successful and build a team. Since I arrived, we have been building a system that maximizes our players' skills. I believe that we have our system in order and we will continue to fine tune it and mold it to our personnel."
From the beginning, Green has managed to keep her squad working toward a common goal, staying focused on volleyball and playing hard each time out.
That kind of focus is a hallmark of Green's program. The 1993 AVCA "Coach of the Year" believes in the long haul. She is out to build a volleyball program at Alabama, not just a team. Success can be fleeting, coming and going with the players who populate the roster. Building a winning program ensures success at every level over the span of a lifetime.
"I believe in playing for a purpose," Green explains. "Our purpose is not just to win. We are here to build a program, not a team. When you refer to yourself as a program it means more than just what happens on the court. It includes success in the classroom as well as being active and visible members of the community. It also means taking the name of `Alabama' and putting it on the minds of the highest potential student-athletes in the country and convincing them by our reputation that this is where they want to be."
Building a program is hard work but Green has a proven formula that she knows is successful and Alabama volleyball is reaping the fruits of that plan.
"Your team has to believe in where you are going and believe in the coaches. Everyone has to be willing to put self aside and think of the program first. Alabama volleyball is a family, one where the players, coaches and support staff respect and believe in one another and are committed to the same goals."
Just as her plan for building a program is well thought out and developed, so is her definition of success.
"Our program will be successful when we have earned the complete support of the University and community for Alabama volleyball. Evidence of our success will come from watching these players grow and mature, not only as volleyball players but as people who have developed the ultimate confidence in themselves and the program. When that happens, big time things will happen here with regularity."
Green has no reason to doubt that her program will be successful. At every level of her athletic career, from standout multi-sport athlete, to multi-sport coach, to nationally recognized volleyball coach, Green has enjoyed extreme success. She attributes much of her success to her coaches and experiences in athletics. However, ultimate credit for her success, Green says, goes to her parents, both of whom gave her invaluable gifts.
"My Dad taught me to leave it all on the field, never take anything with you," Green said. "He taught me to respect those coaching me and to make any sacrifice that would benefit the team.
"My Mom believed in me no matter what I did," Green said. "If I had a good match or a great game, she was right there praising me. If I experienced a loss or a setback, she was right there for me, telling me it was a learning experience and there would be another time, another day."
Green got her start at Tuscola High School in her hometown of Lake Junaluska, N.C., where she was a three-year letterwinner in basketball, softball, track and volleyball. When it came time to decide where to go to college, she picked Western Carolina because it was located in Cullowhee, N. C., near her hometown.
At WCU, Green was phenomenally successful, playing volleyball, basketball and softball and earning a grand total of 12 varsity letters in the four years she was there. She is the only athlete, male or female, in WCU history to earn 12 letters.
As a volleyball player, she was a First Team All-Southern Conference selection in 1982 and 1983, the MVP of the 1983 Southern Conference Championship Tournament, and the Southern Conference Volleyball Player of the Decade for the 1980s.
As a basketball player, she scored more than 1,000 career points, and is still one of the school's top 20 career scorers. She was a member of the team voted the Southern Conference Basketball Team of the Decade for the 1980s.
As a softball player, she was an AIAW All-American at shortstop and the first female to be inducted into the Western Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition, she was named WCU's "Female Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s".
Green graduated from Western Carolina in 1984 with a degree in physical education. She decided to stay at her alma mater to pursue a master's degree. She landed her first coaching job serving as an assistant volleyball coach at WCU during the 1984 season. In 1985, she was an assistant for the softball team and also became the head coach of the women's cross country team.
Then, in 1986, Green became the head volleyball coach at the University of Montevallo, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school with a rich volleyball tradition, including a string of four consecutive NAIA National Tournament appearances. Green immediately continued the winning tradition, taking the Falcons to 10 straight national championship tournaments, including a fourth place NAIA finish in 1988 and a 50-5 record, fifth-place national finish in 1994.
While at Montevallo, she earned the respect of her peers nationwide as she was selected the 1993 National Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She was named NAIA South Region "Coach of the Year" and Southeast Region "Coach of the Year," from 1989-94.
At Montevallo, located 50 miles east of Tuscaloosa, Green coached 26 NAIA/AVCA All-Americans, 38 NAIA All-District 27 players, 11 NAIA All-Southeast Region players, and eight NAIA District 27 Players of the Year.
It was that success that brought her to Alabama and has been the driving force behind her commitment and passion to achieving those same accomplishments at the Capstone.
"The winning tradition that just the name `University of Alabama' carries with it is something that I always wanted and I am now thrilled to be a part of. I am looking forward to adding women's volleyball to the list of championship programs at Alabama."
Green realizes that such success does not come overnight or without challenges.
"We never looked for a quick fix. We worked hard to create a solid foundation to build a nationally competitive program. Early on, I worked hard to get attitudes turned around and the last five seasons we have enjoyed some success, but I have no intention of letting up. I've put together a coaching staff that has a very similar philosophy to my own. We are very positive-oriented people. I feel like we have created the type of learning environment for our volleyball players that will bring the program to a level of consistently being among the top in the SEC and playing in the NCAA tournament."
It is this thinking that led Green to become the winner she is today and is the foundation on which Alabama's volleyball fortunes are based.