A 1976 graduate of NC State with a B.A. in speech communication, Buddy Green played football and baseball for the Wolfpack. He played on two ACC Championship squads in baseball and was a member of Lou Holtz's 1972 Peach Bowl squad.
"I was fortunate as a player," said Green. "I was able to play football and baseball at NC State for two great coaches, Lou Holtz and Sammy Espisito. The things I learned... I could never overlook that time. I was so fortunate to be around great people, and a lot of what I learned, even under coach Espisito playing baseball, I used as a coach."
Green built several strong defenses during his time at NC State, but one particularly team really stood out.
"I think it was 1992," he said. "I believe we had 10 of 11 guys who were drafted or signed as NFL free agents. We were very fortunate that we were surrounded by some really good players."
That 1992 defense allowed just 16.2 points per game (17th nationally) and was pivotal to the Wolfpack's success. The team finished 9-3-1 that season and ranked 17th in the final AP poll.
Green referenced the talent on that team, and one of his biggest strengths as a coach was his ability to recruit. Regarded as a terrific recruiter, Green's success recruiting the state of North Carolina was well-documented. Throughout the years, Green believes two critical recruiting battles were huge for the program.
"Dwayne Washington was one," said Green. "We had a battle with Dwayne, and we knew we had a great one when he started for us as a freshman. He's a great young man. Dwayne would have been a great naval officer. Another was the battle we had for Jessie Campbell. There are more, but those were two guys very instrumental to our success... not just in the secondary but our team.
"We were battling really good people for them... they were two in-state guys that jumped out to me. At that time when we first got to NC State under coach Sheridan I don't think we were getting many in-state kids. Back then, they didn't have all the different ratings you have now, but we fought hard to get them. I think it got us over the hump as far as being able to get in-state kids to come to NC State."
"I'll never forget putting my shoulder around Dwayne Washington and pointing to the endzone, and how we'd have a great big facility in the endzone," he added. "Dwayne would joke with me for about ten years how he was still waiting on that new, big facility I told him about. Even back then in the 80s, coach Sheridan had a vision of what it would take to get the program to compete on a national level."
Since that time, NC State has upgraded the facilities, and Green has noticed the improvements.
"I've been keeping up with NC State because I am an alum. I know they've done so many things to improve the facilities. I know they did the indoor not too long ago and then the stadium... if you talk to any team that comes in there, they will tell you that atmosphere is electric. It's as good as any, so they are on the right track to compete.
"They are trying to do all those things, and in college football it's so important. Everyone wants facilities that attract players, and I think that's the biggest difference now then when I was there, the change in facilities and how they are still trying to get it there... they are on the right track to get things done."
It's obvious that Buddy Green holds a special place in his heart for NC State.
"Being an alum, No. 1 it's a great university and great institution," he said. "Raleigh is a great city to coach, but I had so many relationships over the years, and I could probably tell you about coaches at every school still in the state. Thinking back to that time... the fun part about recruiting and seeing the program grow.
"There are so many great memories and highlights. I'll remember us turning the program around and doing it twice, just to be a part of that. It stands out. Doing it multiple times, getting the program going in the right direction. To bring the excitement back to Wolfpack Football... it was a great feeling."