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Jacksonville High School Names Riley Green Court

Riley Green Court

Jacksonville, AL – Country music star, 2007 Jacksonville High graduate relives memories at ceremony to dedicate the new gym floor in his name

By Joe Medley

Red Bird Camp

Riley Green’s high school sports memories come in flashes. The former Jacksonville High athlete-turned-country music star can see the flight of his throws from a football pocket and baseball’s hot corner.

As he stood on the freshly installed Van Deerman Gymnasium playing floor Wednesday, next to a newly revealed logo bearing his initials and name, the 2007 graduate flashed back to the flight of his game-winning shot against Altamont.

He peered down to the commons end and relived the inbounds play 0.3 seconds left and the shot that he managed to get off in time. .

“Everybody stormed the court,” Green said. “I don’t know how I got it off in point-three seconds. I think it we were the home team keeping the score.

“I’ll always remember that.”

Future Golden Eagles who live such moments will live it on Riley Green Court. Surrounded by volleyball players, basketball players, cheerleaders and school administrators, Green posed for pictures next to one of the two white logos with Navy blue letters, one logo on each end and side of the court.

Green donated the $20,000 it took to replace the floor.

The project comes on the heels of the boys’ basketball team winning the program’s first two state titles, in 2022 and 2023. It started with a conversation between long-time Jacksonville athletics director David Clark, Jacksonville City Schools superintendent Mike Howard and Jacksonville High principal Russ Waits.

“Dr. Howard, Dr. Waits and I were in the gym one day and thought, man, it would be nice to do something to upgrade these facilities,” said Clark, who recently retired after 31 years of coaching several sports, most notably volleyball, but remains as athletics director. “It’s been about 10 years since we’ve done a major renovation in here, and you don’t want to go much longer than that, if you can help it.

“We started talking about funding and how to make that happen.”

After meeting about potential sponsors, Clark thought of Green.

“I thought, I haven’t talked to Riley in a while,” Clark said. “I didn’t want a bunch of logos. I didn’t want it to look like NASCAR, and I said, ‘Why don’t we reach out to Riley and see if he’s interested?’

“We put a thing together and emailed it to him. We talked on the phone a couple of times, and he seemed like he was interested.”

Clark and Green’s manager worked out the details.

“He called me and said, ‘All right, we’re going to do this,’” Clark said. “It happened over the course of time, probably took the last month of school, first week of summer, and we got started in early July, actually doing the floor. We changed all of the color schemes, changed everything on the floor.”

It all culminated in Wednesday’s court dedication.

Riley Green Court

As Clark and Green walked into the gym together, cheerleader Sydney Ford turned her head back, put her hands over her mouth, grabbed another cheerleader’s arm and clapped hard three times. Seeing Ford’s barely contained enthusiasm from across the gathering, Jacksonville assistant volleyball coach Chelsea Mize, who knows Ford through coaching soccer, tried to calm her.

“Breathe,” Mize said in a low voice.

The 34-year-old Green has built his singing and song writing career around relating his experiences growing up in Jacksonville. He broke through with the 2018 single “There Was This Girl” and released the album “Different ‘Round Here” in September of 2019.

Clark remembers Green as a quarterback, third baseman/pitcher and forward.

“Luckily, somebody like Riley is out there, and I have a good relationship with Riley to reach out to see if he was interested,” Clark said. “We didn’t know if this was going to happen, and it wouldn’t have if Riley hadn’t gotten involved.”

Green called it “weird to think how long ago it was” that he played for Jacksonville.

“Baseball, basketball and football was kind of my passion when I was in school,” he said. “I certainly wasn’t into music, like I am now. It’s interesting how it all turned out.

“It’s definitely nostalgic, being in here. There are a lot of great memories playing sports at Jacksonville.”

The last-second shot against Altamont stood out most as Green stood in the venue where it happened.

“It was a two,” he said. “We threw it in from out of bounds down here and turned around and made a hook jumper.”

Giving back to his high school was “a cool thing,” he said.

“I’ve always kept in touch with Coach Clark and Coach Deerman, all of the coaches I went to school with,” Green said. “Those are guys I really looked up to, and I learned a lot of accountability playing for them.

“He reached out and asked if there was some way I could help, and obviously, it’s a cool thing to give back to an organization that gave so much to me.”

Cover photo: Country music star Riley Green poses over one of the new Riley Green Court logos in Jacksonville High School’s Van Deerman Gymnasium on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Country music singer/song writer and 2007 Jacksonville High graduate Riley Green poses for pictures with the Golden Eagles’ volleyball team during Wednesday’s dedication of Riley Green Court. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Country music singer/song writer and 2007 Jacksonville High graduate Riley Green poses for pictures with the Golden Eagles’ volleyball team during Wednesday’s dedication of Riley Green Court. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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