Curtis Green is the new boys basketball coach at Whitefish High School following the surprise resignation of the program’s former coach after barely two months.
The Whitefish School District Board of Trustees approved Green’s hiring last week after High School Activities Director Aric Harris recommended the Phoenix, Arizona native as the new head coach.
Green replaces Josh Downey, who abruptly resigned two weeks ago amid a disagreement with the administration over employment.
Downey, who accepted the Whitefish head coaching job in mid May, claimed administrators promised him a job in the district but failed to help secure anything that would support him and his family beyond the roughly $5,000 coaching stipend. Harris denied the claim.
Green, a finalist during the previous coaching search after Mark Casazza stepped down in March, emerges as the new head coach for a Bulldogs program trying to regain its winning tradition.
Green was born and raised in the Phoenix area and played basketball at Glendale Community College and then Grand Canyon University. After college, he tried out for the Sacramento Kings NBA Summer League Team before shifting to teaching physical education and coaching high school basketball. He has nine years of coaching experience at the high school level, including the past seven years as head varsity coach at Raymond S. Kellis High School, a Division One school in Glendale with nearly 1,900 students. The high school moved up to the state’s highest classification last season, and before that competed successfully in the second highest division. In 2013, the team went 19-9 and qualified for the state sectional tournament and finished runner-up. The team went 27-3 in 2012 and won the sectional tournament and Green was named Coach of the Year.
Green has friends and family in the Flathead Valley and visited several times over the years.
“I’ve been looking for a change and saw there was a job opening at Whitefish,” he said.
He became a finalist in May but eventually lost out to Downey. He said he still planned on moving to Whitefish regardless of not earning the coaching job. Harris contacted him recently and asked if he was still interested in being the head coach.
“When I was up there visiting, the community was very nice and receptive. It just felt like a good fit,” he said.
He said he understands that there is not a teaching vacancy in the school district and instead has a few employment options in the community that he is looking into. He said he’s not worried about any awkwardness following the dustup involving Downey and hopes to transition into the new role smoothly by getting to know the kids and community.
“It’s got to be a little more tough on the kids going on their third coach in three months. The transition will be a little more difficult for them,” he said. “I don’t plan on coming in and changing the world. I want to come in and talk to the kids, get to know them and watch them play and get to understand where the program is at. Then I’ll be able to see what we’re good at, what we need to work on and take it from there.”
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