CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- During its regular quarterly meeting here Friday, the Tennessee Board of Regents granted formal approval to the golf practice facility now under construction on the south border of the East Tennessee State University campus. The complex will be called The Frederick B. Warren-William B. Greene Jr. Golf Center, honoring one of the most successful collegiate golf coaches in the country and one of the ETSU golf program's strongest benefactors.
Supported through private contributions, the center will provide a place for the ETSU men's and women's golf teams to polish their skills. The exterior practice area was designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Fazio. On a 14-acre site, it will include six target greens, two bent-grass greens (one for putting and one for short-game work), two tee areas, and four bunkers. The accompanying 3,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by Ken Ross Architects of Johnson City, will contain coaches' offices, meeting rooms, a hall of fame, players' lounge, two indoor hitting bays, and an observation deck. Estimated cost for the center is $1.4 million. A formal dedication ceremony will be planned for the fall.
Warren's Buccaneer golf teams have played in the NCAA Tournament 10 times and have captured 11 Southern Conference championships. Since his arrival in Johnson City in 1986, his teams have consistently performed among the nation's elite, including a third place finish in the 1996 NCAA championships and a ninth place finish in 2001. The Bucs have finished in the top 13 six times and in the top 25 10 times since 1986.
During the past 15 seasons, Warren's squads have won 36 tournaments, including the 2001 East Regional in Williamsburg, Virginia. His 1995-96 team won six events, tying national champion Arizona State and Florida for the most tournament wins during the year. It became the first team in the history of ETSU athletics to achieve a number one national ranking.
Warren is a seven-time winner of Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors and has twice been named NCAA District Coach of the Year. He was a runner-up for National Coach of the Year following the historic 1995-96 season.
While at ETSU, he has coached 15 All-America selections, 29 All-Southern Conference choices, and 10 Southern Conference Players of the Year. Warren graduated from UCLA in 1973 with a B.A. in speech and earned a master's degree in education from Oklahoma State in 1986. He is faculty advisor for Kappa Delta sorority and has served in the same role for Campus Crusade for Christ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
At age 24, William B. Greene Jr., a second-generation banker, became the youngest bank president and chief executive officer in the United States. While at flight school in Texas in 1964, he became the primary stockholder and president of Carter County Bank.
Five years later, he formed the first statewide banking organization in Tennessee history, the United Tennessee Bancshares Corp., which initially included Carter County Bank in Elizabethton and First People's Bank in Johnson City. Several years later, Nashville City Bank and National Bank of Commerce in Memphis were brought into the organization. Greene also co-founded Paragon Bank in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1999. And, he was the driving force behind the founding of Bank of Tennessee, serving as a co-founder and long-time chairman of the board of both the bank and BancTenn Corp.
Greene was an Associated Press All-State athlete at Kingsport's Dobyns-Bennett High School and received a dual scholarship in basketball and golf to Wake Forest University, where he earned varsity letters in both sports. Greene remains an avid golfer today, with numerous amateur titles, and is serving as Chairman of the Tennessee Golf Foundation and Past President of the Tennessee Golf Association. He has represented Tennessee five times on the Mid-South Cup team and has been a member of the Tennessee Amateur Cup seven times. He won the Tennessee State Senior Four Ball in 1998 and has had four top-ten finishes in the Tennessee State Amateur Championship.
In 2000, Greene received one of the highest honors given to a former collegiate player, the Rolex Achievement Award from the College Golf Foundation and Rolex Watch U.S.A., presented to recognize excellence in the recipient's chosen career as well as his contributions to society.
Greene is a licensed airline transport pilot. He founded the Elizabethton Municipal Airport and has been its chairman for 38 years. He served as Chairman of the Tennessee Bureau of Aeronautics for 12 years.
In 1998, Greene was selected President of the World Presidents' Organization, composed of over 4,000 CEOs of the world's largest corporations.
The son of the late William B. Greene Sr. and Irene Edwards Greene, he graduated from Wake Forest in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in history and philosophy. He is presently Chairman of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees, having served on the board since 1989. In 1990, he received the Wake Forest Distinguished Alumni Award.
Greene has been a longtime and loyal friend and contributor to ETSU. The Buccaneer golf program benefits from his corporate support through the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges Invitational Golf Tournament, which, in only three years, has become one of America's best college golf events. His devotion to golf at ETSU has been recognized by the creation of the William B. Greene Jr. Men's Golf Award for the team's most valuable player.