SI Vault
Douglas S. Looney
September 01, 1980
Nobody stops Defensive End Hugh Green, the best athlete in college football, which means Pitt could be going to the very top
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 01, 1980

Green Light For The Panthers

Nobody stops Defensive End Hugh Green, the best athlete in college football, which means Pitt could be going to the very top

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5

Hand in hand with Green's frugality is a down-home self-sufficiency and directness. Hugh cooks, irons and sews. Indeed, one of his favorite outfits includes a long-sleeved blue and white shirt he made himself. Green is not the least self-conscious about his home-making abilities. "I think it's a good idea to be able to take care of yourself," he says.

Green also thinks of himself very clearly: he is a football player, not a thinker, not a raconteur, not a man of many talents. Life revolves around football for Hugh Green; the other parts of his days are left to sort of take care of themselves. "I spend a lot of time answering the telephone," he says. "Mostly it's girls calling." But hanging from the rearview mirror of his car is a Capricorn medallion, given to Green by a girl friend in Mississippi to keep the other girls away. "Does it work, Hugh?"


Green is docile and malleable when not between the sidelines. If things don't work out today, maybe they will tomorrow. If not then, maybe the next day.

The only off-field concern about Green, who gets high marks in the column headed "Good Person" right down the line, is that he is so open, so friendly that he is given to going down the street with anybody. There have been associations that didn't thrill Sherrill, but when he mentioned his feelings, Green immediately saw the light. A part of the problem is that Hugh Green, by his own admission, is just a country boy seeing city lights—and he loves the view. He also loves the celebrity.

Recently, for example, Hugh and a companion walked into Primanti's restaurant in Pittsburgh's wholesale district. All heads turned. Green ordered a huge sandwich—ham, eggs, cheese, cole slaw and tomato between two ridiculously large pieces of Italian bread. When it arrived, the companion was horrified to be served an identical sandwich and asked, "How in the world can I eat that?" Waitress Candy Carter said, "Want me to put some whipped cream on it?" Green erupted in laughter. "Sure is fun when you're a winner," he said.

Sherrill, in letters to his players this summer, warned them that "the air is getting awful thick about the possibility of us winning the National Championship in 1980" and to watch their mouths.

That's one piece of Sherrill's advice Hugh Green is having trouble with. After all, when you are the best, it's hard to be humble. "We see nobody directly beating us," Green says. "We think about our talent, and we fall out laughing. Nobody is better in the country than our front five. Then we have Marino, and there isn't anyone else like Big Mac [Fullback Randy McMillan]. We know we got it. We're a better team than the Pitt team that won it all in 1976. All they had was Tony Dorsett."

1 2 3 4 5