MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The man who helped Dennis Green pen his biography opened up about the former Vikings coach, remembering the coaching legend in the wake of his death.
Green died of a heart attack at the age of 67.
Gene McGivern helped write Green's book No Room for Crybabies back in 1997.
"He was a person who was really driven and focused and he wanted to make a mark in life,” said Gene McGivern
When Dennis Green became the Vikings first African-American head coach in 1992 and only the second in the NFL, he already had a long list of accomplishments.
He had been the first black coach in the Big 10 at Northwestern and coached at Stanford at the young age of 40.
McGivern said while the public saw Green as a bold, brash, and tough talking coach, he saw a softer side.
"He was a good family man with young kids,” said McGivern. “He loved fishing. He could go into tangents on music fishing Motown. We joked the book kept adding chapters because he had all these passions people wouldn't expect."
In Green's 10 seasons with the Vikings, he led the team to eight playoffs and was the winningest coach in team history behind Bud Grant.
But McGivern said Green will be forever linked to the 1998 team that went 15-1 and lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game.
"But the ‘98 heartbreaker is the one everyone will remember because they were literally one play away from locking that game up and they couldn't get that done," said McGivern.
After Green parted ways with the team, he landed in Arizona, where he made one of the most infamous rants in sports history after the cardinals blew a 20-point halftime lead to the Bears on Monday Night Football.
"They are who we thought they were," Green said in the post-game conference.
But McGivern believes Green's lasting legacy will be breaking down barriers for coaches of color.
"I think he's going to be seen as someone who accomplished a lot at a time when it was not easy for an African-American to succeed in football especially on the coaching side. I think that's his overriding legacy," said McGivern.