Cletus Green's memorial service set for Monday

A memorial service for Cletus Green is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the Rocketdyne Road Church of Christ, 1111 Rocketdyne Road in Neosho.

Green, a Neosho resident who directed both the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M men and Crowder women during a 50-year basketball coaching career, died on April 25 with his wife Carolyn, sons Steve and Kelly and daughter Becky at his side. He was 88.

Younger son Kelly said at the time of the death that his father had been sick for about six weeks, first going into the hospital with a bad stomachache and having surgery. He was tested twice for COVID-19, and both results were negative.

Green’s longest tenure was at NEO, when he compiled a 326-174 record from 1964-80, won eight conference championships and took two teams to the NJCAA Tournament, finishing seventh in 1971 and sixth in 1974.

He also coached at the high school and university levels, winning a state championship at Bristow (Okla.) High School in 1958.

He spent most of his time coaching men’s teams, but he directed the women’s teams at both Oral Roberts University and Texas-Pan American (now Texas-Rio Grande Valley).

His final stop was with the Crowder women for five years, retiring after the 2006-07 season.

“He’s just a great person,” former Crowder athletics director and softball coach Millie Gilion said. “He loved coaching girls basketball. He loved people, and he was just so good to be around. Even though I was his boss, it was more like he was my dad. He treated the girls so good, and they all loved him. After he got back into it, he enjoyed it and said he wanted to stay on. It was a win-win for us and him. He will be greatly missed. He was a good person above all.”

Cletus ended with 767 career victories, and basketball wasn’t his only love.

“He was a strong Christian man, lived his life that way,” Kelly said. “We’re proud of him for that, the example he put forth. The amount of people who have reached out, it’s gratifying to know he made an impact on so many other people’s lives.”

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