When he was hired recently as baseball coach at Kentucky, Gary Henderson had someone in mind to be the new hitting coach, “... somebody that I know and I can trust.”
Brian Green, an assistant at UCLA, was named UK's hitting coach Wednesday.
“Brian is who I had in mind,” Henderson said. “He'll do a great job here.”
Green, 36, directed the UCLA offense, participated in recruiting and handled the infield defense, duties he will have with the Wildcats.
Henderson, who succeeded John Cohen earlier this month, said success has followed Green everywhere he has been.
They became acquainted when Henderson was head coach at Chapman College in 1993, and Green was one of his players.
“Gary has been one of the biggest and most pivotal persons in my life,” Green said. “He was hard on me as a player, and I needed that, somebody constantly on me.
“I started asking him for advice on coaching when I was 24. We kept in touch, and all of a sudden it's beyond advice. We're becoming friends. When this opportunity came, it was a no-brainer.”
The pair reunited in 2001 at Oregon State. Henderson was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator; Green was the volunteer assistant.
“The year with him as a coach changed things,” Henderson said. “We were more like peers, and we depended on each other. Now I'm counting on him.”
Green also was attracted by Kentucky's success in the Southeastern Conference.
“Obviously, the SEC is the pinnacle of coaching,” he said. “It's where you strive to be.”
Green said UK presented a great chance to be a winner.
“At Kentucky, everything is in place,” he said. “It's an opportunity where success is already established. I know I can be part of something special.”
Green was recruiting for the Bruins when he found out that Cohen was leaving for Mississippi State.
“The wheels started spinning a little bit,” he admitted. “If (the call) does come, I knew the challenge I would have.”