Class of 2016
Green was one of Trinity’s best.
If there was a sport you could play at Trinity High School in the early 1960s, Joe Green was part of the team. Green was four-sport athlete at the former Limestone County all-black high school when the athletics program was at its peak.
“Joe was a great, great player and must be included in any discussion about great athletes at Trinity,” said Robert Malone, who went to Trinity High School the same time as Green.
After starting out as a basketball player, it wasn’t long before Green joined in on the other sports at Trinity. ”I was a basketball player and they didn’t want me to play football,” joked Green. “My coach said, “you won’t play football. It’s too tough for you. So then, I knew I had to play.”
According James. L. Walker, in his Feb. 2016 News Courier article, “The quarterback in the cotton field”, Green was “Blessed with great hands and deceptive speed. Green, at 6 feet 3 inches, gave shorter cornerbacks nightmares from his wide receiver position.” And Green was just as effective when he moved to quarterback, according to Walker.
“Consistently beating cornerbacks with rifle passes, which he would stick between two defenders, or soft floaters lofted high over their heads into the waiting arms of a speeding receiver.” But as good as he was at football, basketball might have been Green’s best sport.
“I played ball all over the world, against great athletes,” said Malone. “And Joe was one of the best all-around athletes I have ever seen. Also,
he was such an inspirational figure for all of us young athletes at Trinity who followed him.”
Although schools were not integrated until the late 1960s, blacks and whites were playing against one another outside the classroom on a regular basis around Trinity High School.
“We wanted to play them at school, but they wouldn’t allow us to play them,” said Green. “We both thought we had the best teams in the area. I always lived on the farm and played ball with other white guys. We just couldn’t play them in school.”
Green played basketball as a freshman and by the end of his sophomore season, he was the leading scorer on the team that advanced all the way to district championship.
“Joe was always reluctant to shoot and we had to constantly tell him to shoot and when he did he usually made it,” said his older brother, Johnny.
By his season, Green averaged more than 30 points per game and led the team in rebounding his junior and senior seasons.
Although Green has called Louisville home for most of this life, the Limestone native still has family around Athens. “It’s always nice to go back. I usually try to go back and see a couple of games when I go back,” said Green. “I’ve
got grandkids that play. I talked to them about how I played, and then seeing the stories in the paper, they are amazed.”