For more than 30 years, Basil Green ran the city of Beaufort's Recreation Department with a big heart and an iron fist.
Green, 86, died Wednesday of apparent natural causes in Jacksonville, Fla., according to his obituary.
To many, Green was known as a tough-talking, no-nonsense authoritarian who taught scores of Beaufort children how to play football and baseball the right way.
But that's not all he taught them, says Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.
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"He was a tough old codger who taught character-building to generations of Beaufortonians," Keyserling said Saturday. "It was tough love. I remember him saying once that if you could walk off the field after a game, you didn't play hard enough."
A native of Andrews, Green attended and graduated from Florida Southern College before moving to Beaufort where he became a fixture on the city's ball fields, according to his obituary.
Green served for 30 years as director of the city's Recreational Department before retiring to Florida, the obituary said.
Beaufort County honored Green's service to area children and area athletics by naming a complex of baseball, softball and soccer fields on Rodgers Street after him.
On Monday, Green will be laid to rest at Beaufort National Cemetery -- less than a block from the Basil Green Complex.
Keyserling said those who came in contact with Green will not soon forget the lessons he taught them.
"We used to make jokes about him and had names for him that we would call him behind his back but he was a wonderful, wonderful man," Keyserling said.