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Dennis Green Grateful for Opportunities

Posted Feb 17, 2016

Former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green turns 67 today.

When hired in 1992, Green was the second African American head coach in the modern NFL and third ever.

Green led the Vikings to the playoffs eight times in his 10 seasons with the club, and Minnesota claimed four division titles (NFC Central) and made two appearances in NFC title games under Green. He also initiated the “Community Tuesdays” program through which Vikings players continue to use their off day during the season to positively impact the area.

Green was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1949, which turned out to be great timing, he told Vikings.com in a phone interview last year. Green credited the successes he experienced to the contributions of those who worked to promote societal changes.

“Well, I feel very fortunate. I’ve always said I was born at the right time, with being born in 1949 and growing up right at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed, desegregation of schools was taking place in the ’60s. I was in that first group, in 1967, that Tennessee, Kentucky wanted to recruit African-American players.

“My freshman class, in fact, at the University of Iowa, out of the 30 players that received scholarships, 15 were African Americans,” Green added. “On the entire team in 1966, there were only five African Americans on the whole team at the University of Iowa, so I came along at a time when opportunity was created by very brave and determined people that came before me, and I was fortunate enough to benefit from it.”