SPOTLIGHT: Old-school friends Greene, Guin go back a long way

MUTUAL RESPECT: Loyola’s Mike Greene and Calvary’s Rodney Guin are in an exclusive coaching club. (File photos by GRAHAM TRAWICK and JOHN PENROD)
 

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

It was the early 2010s, when Mike Greene was in his first year as head coach at Fair Park and Rodney Guin was at Haughton. Greene’s program was struggling to even exist (the school has now closed) and Haughton was enjoying great support from its community.

The two teams were not district opponents, but were on the schedule for a two-year series. “Here’s how good of a guy Rodney is,” Greene says now. “We played both games at his place and he split the gate with us because he knew it would help us out (financially). One of those years (2011) was even his Homecoming so the gate was even bigger. Nobody knows that, but I’ve never forgotten it.”

In the history of Caddo-Bossier football, there has never been a game in which two coaches with 150 career wins will be on opposing sidelines. (No other local coach even has half that many wins.)

That will change Friday night when Loyola meets Calvary at 7 o’clock at Messmer Stadium.

Greene is in his second stint as head coach of the Flyers while Guin has been at Calvary since 2017. It wouldn’t matter what was on the line with these two, but there is this: This game will decide the District 1-2A championship.

When the two meet at midfield before the game, there’s no telling what the conversation might be. The bigger problem will be to get them to stop talking so the game can start. “We probably won’t even talk about football,” Guin says.

Guin, 62, and Greene, 57, both laughingly acknowledge that this might be a football adaptation of the Ernest J. Gaines novel, A Gathering of Old Men.

“When he was at Airline and I was first starting at Haughton we got to be pretty good friends,” Guin says. “We were young head coaches at that point. Not anymore.”

“It goes by so fast,” Greene says. “Hard to believe it’s been that long.”

Consider these resumes: Guin and Greene are the only two in Caddo-Bossier to have coached in a state championship game. In his second year as head coach (at age 29), Greene took a Loyola team that was 4-5 in the regular season to the 1994 Class 2A title game.

Guin, who led Calvary to the Division IV state championship in 2020, had a 16-year career as head coach at Haughton and is No. 3 all time in wins by a Caddo-Bossier coach with 179.

Greene, who has coached more football games in Caddo-Bossier than anyone else other than Lee Hedges, has 150 W’s, only one win away from moving into the Top 5.

“I’ve known him 35 years, I guess,” Greene says of Guin. “I think the world of him. He’s an A-plus guy. We played against each other a lot. You hate playing against your friends because you get mad and try to beat them and if you do, you feel sorry for them when it’s over.”

Greene and Guin met five times when they were at Airline and Haughton with Greene’s Vikings teams winning three of the five. Guin’s Bucs beat Greene’s Fair Park teams both times they played.

“They are going to play very hard and you know that going in,” Guin said of playing Greene’s teams over the years. “Last week, he played a team (North Caddo) that probably had the 10 fastest players on the field and (Loyola) shut them down. When you can take a team with athletes like that and not just beat them but beat them soundly, that’s coaching right there.”

Coaches are known for throwing compliments toward the opposing team in the days leading up to a game, but these aren’t just game-week platitudes.

“The thing I love about him is what you see is what you get,” Guin says. “He’s honest, he’s truthful, he’s loyal. You try to surround yourself with guys you can trust and he’s one of them. What a guy. He’s just great for football around here.”

Says Greene: “I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anybody.”

Guin suffered a massive heart attack in 2014 while at Haughton. He coached at Haughton until 2015 before retiring and moving to Calvary as an assistant in 2016.

“He’s such a good guy,” Greene says. “You can see why he was left around here (after his heart attack) so he could touch more people’s lives.”

Both know high school football coaching can often be a young man’s profession. A few years ago in a different circumstance, that was Guin and Greene.

“You’re only as old as you feel,” Greene says. “But he’s got a new ticker, so I guess he’s ready to go.” 

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com