Chris Green speaks out following resignation as UAA volleyball coach
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Chris Green announced his resignation as head coach of the University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball program after 15 seasons in a surprise press release Monday evening.
Although Green says stepping down had been on his mind for the distant future — he did not expect to do so this year — but a disagreement with administration accelerated the timeline.
”I’ve always had that in the back of my mind, there is a time where I want to let new blood get into the system, so I had been thinking about it, I didn’t think that it would happen now, but here we are,” Green said Tuesday at the Alaska Airlines Center.
“I think not hosting the West Region volleyball tournament was something that I felt was disrespectful to the volleyball program,” he said, on what accelerated the timeline of his resignation. “The original decision to schedule a Shootout tournament on the same weekend, knowingly, as the West Region volleyball tournament was something that at least I should have been brought into that discussion. So I think that was really hard for me to take.”
After winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 27-2 record, UAA volleyball was tabbed the No. 1 seed in the West Region, which is rewarded by hosting the first round of the NCAA Division II tournament. However, the Great Alaska Shootout, a four-team, Division I basketball tournament hosted by UAA, was scheduled for the same weekend as the West Regional Championships, Nov. 18-19. UAA Administration and the NCAA were unable to figure out a way to host both tournaments at the same venue, the Alaska Airlines Center.
“Knowing in October that we had a shot — since we beat Western Washington — we had a shot to be the No. 1 seed, not being able to figure out how we could host both events in this beautiful facility. You know, I think, I don’t know that we worked hard enough to make that happen. And so that — and I don’t know, because I wasn’t privy to anything that was being done above me,” Green said.
The 2022 NCAA DII West Regional Championships were held at Western Washington University in Bellingham, where the top-ranked Seawolves were upset by No. 8 Chaminade in the first round.
“I think we lost out on the inside track for a national championship and that really burns. I’m a competitor,” Green said. “I think hosting a West Region here would have given us an advantage. And for those who say, ‘you don’t know that you would have won the West Region here,’ that is exactly right, we will never know. ... I just feel something was stolen from this volleyball program.”
Green expressed his grievances to the administration in a meeting with Athletic Director Ryan Swartwood, with the meeting ending in Green’s resignation.
”I don’t know, I thought it was a cordial meeting with the athletic director and so I think it’s still OK,” Green said.
In addition, Green felt he was not allocated enough time to address his team and incoming recruits following his resignation.
“[Monday] was a little upsetting, especially not allowing 24 hours. I think [Tuesday] is when the resignation should have been announced. We were not given time to let our recruits know. ... The about-8 o’clock press release was a complete surprise to me. I think that college athletic program is about recruiting. That is the lifeblood of our program, of any college program, and you don’t respect just allowing us to call out to our recruits and let them know what’s going on, that’s a little disrespectful as well.”
Green says he was given about 15 minutes to address the team before the news went public.
”We talked about several other things, about being selfless, as the main topic of conversation, then I just announced to them that I was resigning. They knew, I think they knew. ... It was fine. It was good. Emotional.”
The original announcement of Green’s resignation was released at 6:04 p.m. Monday and provided two sentences beyond Green’s quote: one announcing his resignation as head coach of the program, and another announcing that assistant coach Stacie Meisner has been named interim head coach. Green’s quote in the press release went as follows:
“I would like to thank our fans and boosters for their support. Thanks to all the players who dedicated themselves to this program year after year. And I would like to acknowledge my assistant coaches who were integral in building this program.”
An updated press release was made available at 9:34 p.m. that included a quote from Swartwood and additional information on Green’s accomplishments with the program.
“On behalf of the entire athletics department, I thank Chris for his many years of service to UAA, and all of his efforts in support of our student-athletes,” Swartwood said in the press release. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Alaska’s News Source reached out to UAA in an effort to speak with Swartwood, but he was out of the office for the holidays, according to the administration.
Green led the Seawolves to a winning record in all 15 seasons, posting a 313-116 win/loss record during his tenure. Last week, the winningest coach in program history was named the GNAC’s Coach of the Year for the sixth time and was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II National Coach of the Year in 2016 after leading UAA to a national runner-up finish.
“I hope it is more than wins and losses,” Green said of the legacy he is leaving behind at UAA. “It is about the players, it is about the student-athletes and doing what’s right for them. I hope that we did that for the most part for the last 15 years. Allowing them to graduate, start careers, start their lives outside of volleyball, I think that is the most important thing that we do as college coaches, so hopefully, we have done a good job of that.”
In the meantime, Meisner, the former UAA libero from 2008-09, will step in as interim head coach. Meisner has spent the last four seasons as the team’s top assistant coach.
”She is super intelligent, knows the game very, very well, is going to take this program and run with it and drive it in the right direction,” Green said of Meisner. ”She has been named interim coach, which is great, I think naming her as the coach is some stability that this volleyball program needs and I hope that she is given that chance.”
As Green reflects on having coached his last game with the program, he shared what he will miss most.
”I think the one thing that I am going to miss the most is game day,” Green said while fighting back emotions. “That’s the best part.”
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