Editor's note: This is the second of an occasional series spotlighting former athletes with ties to the state of Utah.
SALT LAKE CITY — Charmelle Green knows a thing or two about making an impact. As a softball player at the University of Utah, Green was a four-time all-conference honoree and a two-time All-America selection. She capped her stellar career by leading the Utes to an NCAA regional championship and a trip to the College World Series.
Now, 23 years later, Green is applying the same gusto to her position as an associate athletic director and the senior female administrator at Penn State University.
While determined to make an impact in society and in the lives of young people, she’s focused on always doing her best.
“I’m relentless when it comes to that. When I set my mind to something I’m certainly driven to achieve. That’s just who I am. It’s my DNA,” Green said. “When it comes to leadership — when it comes to making a difference — I am just committed to that. It’s just always who I’ve been.”
As a softball star, Green’s accolades included 1991 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year recognition and the Occie Evans Award as the U.’s most outstanding female athlete. She was later inducted into the Utah Softball Hall of Fame. Green eventually received similar honors from athletic departments at Utah as well as her high school in San Diego.
After finishing her college career, Green played professional softball for a season in New Zealand. She then spent a couple of years coordinating youth programs for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.
Following a successful two-year stint as the head softball coach at West High, Green returned to the Utes as a volunteer assistant. That led to top assistant coaching positions at Colorado State, Syracuse and Notre Dame. After four years with the Irish softball program, athletic director Kevin White (now at Duke) hired Green to oversee student welfare and development at Notre Dame.
“My journey has been one that is rewarding and exciting as I look back and think about all that I’ve done and what I’ve learned along the way,” said Green, who accepted her current position at Penn State in 2011.
Shortly after taking the job, the Nittany Lions were embroiled in the Jerry Sandusky controversy.
Green noted that in a situation like that, you either lace up your boots and get going or you look the other way and choose to go in a different direction.
“I want to be part of the rebuilding at Penn State, restoring the image at Penn State, and I am so proud of what our institution has done in spite of the adversity that we faced,” Green said. “I’m so incredibly proud of the leaders of the institution who have stepped up to just do great work. To have been a part of that is just something that I will be forever grateful for because I have learned a great deal. I’ve met some incredible leaders, faculty members, administrators who were just committed to doing right and committed to being better for having gone through what we have.”
Green acknowledged that the experience has been very exhausting yet rewarding — putting policies and processes in place to avoid any missteps in the future.
“It’s one of those things where you see achievements happen because you’re doing great work and you’re coming together as one institution to make things better — and make them better for the students who represent our institution,” Green said. “Students who come to Penn State have trusted in our leadership to ensure that they have the resources to excel at the highest level.”
Green absolutely sees herself leading an athletic program someday.
“When? I don’t know and I’m OK with that being an unknown at this point and time because right now what I know is I want to be the best I can be for Penn State University,” she said. “Penn State has been incredibly gracious and just a place where I’ve grown and learned from the best in the business. So I want to represent Penn State the best that I can and be a true ambassador for the institution.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that she thinks anything less of her collegiate roots.
“I love my alma mater. I love the University of Utah. Utah taught me so much about myself,” Green said. “It helped me become a better leader. It really shaped me for — and prepared me well for — the world.”
Green added that it confirmed her core values.
“I love the U.,” she said. “I’ll always be a Ute and I’m just really proud of what we were able to achieve while I was there.”
Green fondly recalls the 56 innings it took for Utah to get past Creighton in the 1991 WAC championships. She recalls the strength and courage it took to dig deep and prevail. Her coach, Jo Evans, remains a mentor and someone she trusts and continues to seek guidance from.
Making people proud, Green explained, is a large part of her motivation to excel. She listed the university, Evans (who is currently at Texas A&M) and her family among those she seeks to make proud.
“Those are the things that really drive me to succeed,” Green said. “I have goals and aspirations and I’m just going to continue to fight to achieve those at every level that I so happen to get to.”
Green continued that she just wants to make a difference.
“I love what I do. So I’m incredibly glad to be able to work in the field of sports. I love sports. I love competition. I love watching young people striving for greatness, putting in work day in and day out to achieve a common goal. That is inspiring to me.”
The opportunity to help along the way, she noted, is incredibly satisfying.
Green also values her past.
“Absolutely. I love the Utes. I will always follow and be a great supporter of my alma mater. The experience I had there was one that I will remember and cherish for my lifetime,” she explained. “I will always follow the Utes and I wish the Utes continued success. Chris Hill has done a phenomenal job in his role as athletic director and I just look forward to seeing them doing some great things in the Pac-12.”
As for a possible return to Utah someday, Green didn’t rule it out. However, she’s focused on the task at hand.
“Until then, I will continue to do what I can at Penn State be a great ambassador,” said Green, who emphasized that she loves Penn State and will continue to strive for greatness.
Green earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Utah in 1991 and a master's degree in secondary education from Indiana University South Bend in 2003. She’s married to “the love of her life” — Dr. Matthew Mooney, a professor at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company