Local basketball star inducted into the UWO Hall of Fame

James Green of Gore Bay is a former basketball star for the University of Western Ontario Mustangs. He was recently inducted into the UWO Western Mustangs Backcourt Club Wall of Honour.

GORE BAY – For James Green it is all about teamwork and the relationships that has carried him through his work, education and athletic life. 

“Our team was the only team in the history of the University (of Western Ontario) to win the Canadian basketball championship,” Mr. Green told the Recorder in a recent interview. “No other basketball team in the school’s history had won before or since.”
He was a star shooting guard on the (UWO) Mustangs team that won the 1990-91 National Championship. This team was inducted in the UWO Mustangs Backcourt Club Hall of Honour in 2011.

And earlier this month, Mr. Green was among those inducted into the UWO Western Mustangs Backcourt Club Wall of Honour (in London) as an individual player. 

“It is certainly an honour,” stated Mr. Green. But, “while it is a great individual honour it is always in the back of my mind that it is the team that was the most important. If is the same as now, being part of the Manitoulin Golf grounds course staff. When people say the greens and the golf course looks great, it is because of the teamwork we have.”

“Our (UWO) team in 1991 was made up of four fifth year starters,” Mr. Green told the Recorder. “We had won three provincial championship’s previously and had been the CIAU National Championship tournament consolation champions. Heading into the 1991 season we felt as a group we had missed chances to win, but when the four of us came back for our fifth year, we were determined.”

The team posted an overall record of 33 wins and two losses; won the OUAA West Conference Championship; won the Ontario/Quebec Championship (Wilson Cup); and won the CIAU National Championship over Guelph 78-67. The team had also won five pre-conference tournaments.

However, “we almost messed up,” stated Mr. Green. “We were the number one ranked team in the country among the final eight teams that took part in the nationals in Halifax. Since we were ranked first overall we in the country we played the eighth ranked Laurentian (University) team…and at one point in the game we were down 27-4,” he recalled. “We were a desperate team, no one could do anything at the start but somehow we turned everything around and won the game by 10 points. We won and ended up against Victoria in the semi-finals, winning, and then beating Guelph in the final.”

James Green of Gore Bay in game action with the University of Western Ontario Mustangs basketball team from the 1990-91 season.

“Life is a perpetual adventure,” stated Mr. Green, who has bicycled across Afghanistan and bicycled around China, “and you win some and lose some along the way. Now my career role in life is working on the golf course and I love my job.”

Mr. Green lives on the West Bluff just outside of Gore Bay, on property his parents-bought (and still live on) about 40 years ago.

In his life, Mr. Green has been a teacher, traveller and adventurer. He is the creator of The Right Me, a month-long online self-development program for teenagers and young adults. In the program designed several years ago, he shows you how to gain the self-confidence to make the right decisions about school, relationships and life direction. The Right Me is personal for Mr. Green. For years, he struggled to find the answers for himself and through travel, education and an open mind he found “the right me” for him.

Mr. Green studied at UWO where he received an honours degree in Anthropology and Philosophy

After Western, he studied at the University of Glasgow where he was awarded a teacher’s degree, followed by Trinity College, London, where he obtained his teaching English as a second language certificate. He spent the next 10 years teaching English in a Japanese high school.

Mr. Green acknowledged, “the Right to Me program as a business—I could honestly say didn’t succeed. But the concept is good that we all need to find out who we are in life. And I’m loving living here on the Island and working at Manitoulin Golf. I wouldn’t change anything.”

Along with his parents having a connection to the Island with their property, Mr. Green said the family’s ties to the golf course are long held, especially to Arthur Pummell (on the grounds crew at Manitoulin Golf).
He explained, “in 2008 there was a big tornado that ripped through much of Manitoulin and trees were leveled all over including at my parents place here on the Island. The day after the storm I woke up at 6 am and bicycled to the golf course. I was wondering how it fared in the storm. When I got there, standing by the clubhouse I found Arthur there crying. He was saying things like look at what this has done to my baby (golf course), as there were big trees down everywhere. I told him I would help and I went back to our house and brought back my car to help clean the mess on the course. By the time I got back there were other members of the course on hand to help out as well. That was how my friendship was cemented with Arthur.”

“Now things have come full circle. Thanks to Arthur I have the greatest job in the world and I’m living on-Island. And our team, the grounds crew at the course works hard as a team to produce the best golf course we can,” said Mr. Green, who was born in England, and moved to Canada with his family 40 years ago. “We all really take pride in the work we do at the golf course. For me it has all been like coming home.”