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Green's rulebook: no drugs, no girls

COACH Bill Green may lose his cool with a referee occasionally. But he never yells at his players on the game floor, and never berates them, coating his Marine-style discipline with a mild manner. For the most part, he sits through the Giants' games with arms folded, taking out his frustrations on a wad of Juicy Fruit. ``We didn't get where we are by my being lenient,'' says Mr. Green, who proctors the academic and social life of ``his'' boys with a vigilance of a Victorian schoolmarm. He demands average grades or better, and if the boys slip, they get tutored.

If there's any smoking, drinking, or drugs, ``they're done,'' he says. And in his book, going steady can wait until later.

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He even nixes walking with girls in school halls or staying on the phone longer than 10 minutes - although he admits that enforcing these two rules is pretty tough.

When asked if he has a girlfriend, Daric Keys looks down at his shoes - which are a long way off for someone 6 feet, 6 inches - and you guess that he does. But he backs his coach's rule about going steady.

``Well, Coach Green, he tells us about this player that had a steady,'' says the young forward. The couple broke up, and the girl arrived in the stands with another date. That blew the player's game. ``Coach Green, he doesn't want that to happen to us,'' Daric explains.

It's obvious Green is a father figure to these guys. ``He knows everything the boys are doing, and he talks to them when they have a problem,'' says Rosemarie Edwards, a divorc'ee who moved here from Muncie when her son Jay was young. She and three other team mothers are raising their sons alone.

``His [Green's] fundamental strength is his sensitivity to the total needs of the 16- to 18-year-olds. He understands the `inner' teen,'' says Richard Persinger, who has two sons on the team, Kyle and Eric, and who was Marion High's principal for 10 years.

Team members' favorite word for Mr. Green is ``great.'' Says one player: ``I'd say he's one of the best friends I have.''

But Green maintains he isn't buddy-buddy with the guys. Instead, he operates on respect; and that's what he hoped would pull him through in the '70s, when he ``cut'' his own son in final team tryouts. ``There was lots of silence at home that year,'' says the father of four grown children.

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Green coached the Giants from 1970 to '76, leading them to two state titles before taking a six-year timeout in business. In his 20 years of high school coaching, he has tallied a 366-122 record, with five state trophies, and he's hoping for a sixth at the finals March 28, before 17,000 Hoosiers in the Indianapolis Market Square Arena.

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