Bill Green, the first athletic director at San Pasqual High, passed away from heart failure last month in Provo, Utah. He was 84.
Green, who coached football and baseball for 33 years at Escondido and San Pasqual, left Escondido High in 1973 to run the athletic department at the new San Pasqual High.
“Bill and I were the football staff at Escondido High in the ’50s,” said legendary Cougars coach Chick Embrey. “He had no experience coaching football, but he took the defense, and I coached the offense.
“It was that way until the ’60s when we added Paul Platz to the staff. Bill and I were together for 18 years.”
That changed in the early ’70s when San Pasqual opened and Green moved across town.
“Bill was a very intense, fiery guy,” said Art Warren, who played baseball for Green at Escondido High.
Warren later coached baseball and basketball at Escondido, San Pasqual and Orange Glen, and was the athletic director at San Pasqual for a number of years.
“Bill was very competitive, but he had a light side, too,” Warren said.
“He’d play hat-flip games on bus rides. He could wiggle his ears. That cracked guys up.
“And in the early years at San Pasqual, he ran the Faculty Olympics.
“He was a really, really good athlete.”
Green played baseball at the University of Utah, where he was a third-team All-American.
He was a member of the university’s 1951 College World Series team.
He served in the Air Force during the Korean War and received his Ph.D. in education from BYU in 1970.
He married his high school sweetheart, Iona Nielsen, in 1948. The couple was married for 64 years.
Bill and Iona had seven children, 32 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
“Bill was really fortunate that he got to coach all four of his sons,” Embrey said. “He had a great football mind. His linemen got off the ball so quickly that they almost beat the snap count.
“But he was a better baseball coach.
“We had a deal in the old days. He helped me coach football, and I helped him with the baseball team.
“He was a fierce competitor. In the old days, when you could actually argue with an umpire and not get thrown out of a game, he’d get in the face of an umpire and tell him what he thought of a call.
“He was only 5-foot-7, so it was kind of funny when the umpire was a tall guy.”
Over the years, the Green and Embrey families grew close as the fathers coached together.
“Bill was Mormon, and I’m a Christian,” Embrey said. “And while we always got along on the field, we had some very lively discussions off it.
“But those discussions never hindered our friendship because we understood people are free to choose in this country.”
Embrey said he last saw his friend about a year ago when Green traveled back to Escondido from Utah with his daughters.
“We had a great visit, and we hugged when he left,” Embrey said. “I could tell he was in failing health. Still, it’s tough when you lose a friend. someone you worked with.
“We lost a doggone good man when Bill Green passed.”