Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Green takes on new challenge at JCSU

Published:Thursday | January 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Gleaner Writer
Leford Green

Following the departure of Lennox Graham from Johnson C Smith University (JCSU) to Clemson University, Leford Green, the former national 400 metres hurdles champion, is looking to continue Graham's legacy as the interim coach of his alma mater.

Green, who was assistant coach to Graham after he graduated from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based university in 2011, believes that he has garnered enough experience under the tutelage of his long-time coach to guide this new wave of athletes, which includes several Jamaicans.

"He was my high-school coach, so I have learnt a lot from him, but I plan to add my own touch to it," Green, who recently called time on his career, said. "I probably can't do the same things that he used to do, but I can at least ensure that the programme stays afloat, and over time, I can actually develop my own legacy."

Among the Jamaicans he will be guiding are national shot-putter Sah-Jay Stephens, who attended St Jago High School, and former Kingston College athletes Sadiki McFarlane and Kristoff Darby.

The 31-year-old said that it was logical for him to walk away from track and field at this time, as he wasn't performing at the standard required to generate enough income to support himself and his family.

"When we started out, we knew that it would probably take eight years before I started to decline, and I was seven years into my pro career," Green said. "I wasn't performing like when I started out, and I wasn't generating enough to sustain myself and my family."

At the peak of his career, Green made the finals of the 400m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympic Games and won a bronze medal as a part of the 4x400m relay team at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, a year earlier.

But his most memorable performance came when he stunned a roaring Puerto Rican crowd by defeating hometown favourite and then world number one Javier Culson in the 400m hurdles at the Central American and Caribbean Games at Mayaguez, Puerto Ricom in July 2010.

Green represented Kingston College before he took up a scholarship to attend JCSU.