In 1923 Steve Owen, then a massive tackle on the Phillips University ( Okla.) football team, played next to a scrawny 150-pound end named Theodore L. Wood Greene. "Toby takes care of me," the future coach of the New York Giants liked to say of his teammate. And as it turned out, Toby Greene was to spend a lifetime "taking care" of athletes.
He started coaching baseball at Sayre ( Okla.) High School in 1924, moved eventually to Oklahoma State University, where since 1942 his teams have ranked among the nation's best. "When we hit that ball field we're there for business," he'd tell his boys. His winning philosophy: "Stress the basic stuff. Don't go in for frills." Yet he taught more than a game. "You don't serve any purpose if all they learn is baseball," he says. "I try to teach them to be men." His players must approve. They often come back to visit him. Last year's OSU team ("more heart than talent") won the collegiate world series. "They made an old man mighty happy," admitted Toby. Even happier last week, he was honored by the American Association of Collegiate Baseball Coaches as Coach of the Year.