Strolling up and down North Royal Avenue during tailgate, Daniel Green plays cornhole under the blue sky. At 6’5”, he stands high above the wide eyed little boys watching him. He is their hero, and I’m reminded of the clique that “not all heroes wear capes”- some choose worn working boots, purple and white striped overalls a la Beetlejuice, and cowboy hats.
In these parts, he is the stuff of legend, like Paul Bunyan or Davy Crockett. Larger than life, authentically American, and warm. With a relaxed smile and a nod, he tosses his small friends a purple bean bag then moseys on around the parade of tents to ensure tailgaters exude lion pride.
His job description calls him the “hype man,” and it’s one of the ten positions on the University Programing Counsel (UPC). Last year, thirty open spots looked for members, but recently the counsel made changes towards a model with more specific jobs. In its inaugural year, the counsel gave Green some creative freedom for the position including the “look” for the hype man.
“I always saw overalls and cowboy hat,” Green said.
If his height, coupled with the overalls weren’t enough, the cowboy hat makes Green easy to pick out amongst a crowd. He wore it this summer as a SOAR (Student Orientation Advising and Registration) counselor when he welcomed freshmen to their new home in Florence.
“The [hat] I wear all the time on campus, that one specifically came from my grandfather so me and him have the same hat, bought at the same time,” Green said. “It’s from the feed store in my hometown and it’s the same hat he’s bought pretty much his whole life as long as they’ve made it, then buy a new one when it wears out. He gave that to me and I always wore it as a work hat at home. But growing up, I just wanted to be a cowboy, my grandfather was a cowboy, and that never really changed in my life. I just got a little more courage to wear a cowboy hat.”
His hometown is in Citronelle, Ala., a three hundred mile drive away, and like his parents, Danny and Monica, Green’s grandfather feels proud of his grandson’s success.
“He likes it,” Green said. “He laughs at a lot of it too, just that I’ve been the same way for a long time, but now people watch me do it.”
At home games, he maintains this personal brand of hospitality. While tailgating, he exudes the energy of a charismatic host, entertaining everyone from greek life to alumni and anyone in between. During the football games, he cheers in the student section, bullhorn in hand, while he
leads the chants. When he sees you, or me, or any friend of the university, we’re invited to give his smiling face a big “Roar Lions!”
“I know like at tailgate he’s supposed to be hyping people up, running around... he does that, but I think he doesn’t want to do that too much because that would set him apart a little more,” said Green’s girlfriend Brooke McAdams. “What he really wants to do it just go around to people’s tents and just talk to them. I think part of hype man is like yeah getting people hyped up, but it’s also getting to know everybody, kinda building a community.”
When he emcees activities on the field, like the Listerhill football toss challenge, he doesn’t need a special pass. He simply hops the fence between the stands and field, then jogs to the 50-yard-line and grabs a mic. In moments like these, Green reminds fans he’s one of them.
“I wanted to be viewed more as a student than I did someone in a position,” he said. “I still wanted to be a leader, but I didn’t want people to look at me and know like ‘wow! that is the president’ or ‘wow! that is the hype man.’ I just wanted to be everybody’s friend that happens to hype them up.”
Stepping into an unprecedented role, Green felt the pressure to succeed. He pioneered this position alongside Director of Student Engagement Tyler Thompson, UPC Advisor Kayla Edwards, and UPC Vice President Linden White.
“[Being the hype man] feels really good now; It didn’t feel good for a long time,” he said. “I kinda like to map how things are gonna go in my head parameters... it’s not stressful but it is daunting to me... but as soon as we had our first football game and I kind of had an idea of what was expected of me and what I expected of myself, it has been really good since. It’s very exciting.”
Ever since childhood, Green knew he wanted to impress, but his family never forced it upon him. As a child, his father worked as a music minister, and wherever he went, people knew him as Danny Green’s son.
“I feel like being in those situations under the circumstance that my dad is kind of a leader in our community, people looked at me that way,” he said. “It was never that I felt like I had to live up to it, but I wanted to.”
Green’s relationship with his father inspires him daily, but at school, he admires Student Government Association (SGA) President Sam Mashburn. Like the little boys playing cornhole, everyone needs someone to look up to.
“I look up to my dad more than anyone for his values and his confidence in himself, and those are things that no matter how old I get and how much I grow in my life I will always look to him for those same things,” he said.
Like the values and confidence his father instilled in him as a child, a passion for music and faith define Green’s life outside of his job on UPC. He and McAdams met and bonded over their faith at the Christian Student Center freshman year. “Everything I do is filtered through that lens of how God would view it, and how He would want me to act upon it,” Green said. “I feel like once any action or any words get to other people from me, it’s already passed through my faith and it’s always altered because of that in a good way.”
Plus, growing up around music naturally inspired Green to learn to play. He plays the guitar and sings. With a passion for music, just like his father, he chose the University of North Alabama for their degree program in Entertainment Business.
“My biggest goal was to figure out where God wanted me to go in my life. I always had a direction but never a specific path,” Green said. “[A goal of mine is] to just influence other people in a way to make them better and if that is spiritually then that’s great, but if not, I hope to be able to leave this university and have people not remember my name but remember how they were affected because of me.”
To get connected to his new campus, Green tried out for Freshman Forum. On the day of the interview, he dressed in his finest suit, tied his tie, and marched in wearing his favorite pair of cowboy boots. His relaxed energy and positivity made an impression on his advisors, and the boots didn’t hurt either.
With leadership hiccups midway through the first semester, his advisors appointed him to chair the Outreach and Philanthropy Committee. His new committee would connect freshman to on campus resources and raise money for the SGA endowed scholarship.
“When I was called on as kind of the first choice to step in, that kind of made me realize my path...Instead of being in Freshman Forum, I would be a leader in Freshman Forum. Instead of just being on UPC, I would be a leader on UPC also,” he said. “I think [being appointed] kinda opened my eyes to how to rest of college would go for me. Even if I just want to stand in the group, I feel like I will always stand out as a leader.”
His extensive resume backs up his sentiment. In addition to being a chair in Freshman Forum and this year’s hype man, Green became a SOAR counselor on his first try (this time singing in his interview), became a brother of Lambda Sigma Phi fraternity, and recently won the title of Mr. University. Last spring, he also sang in the choir of the Shoals Symphony, and he serves the Interfraternity Council as a delegate.
“You’d think for some people, it would kind of like blow them up a little bit, get a little big headed, but he doesn’t at all,” said McAdams. “He just enjoys what he does. It can be very tiresome.”
And what’s a cowboy to do after a tiresome day? For Green, he hops into his grey 4runner and heads to the Wal-Mart on Cloverdale for a gallon of Reece’s peanut butter ice cream. His brown and white mutt Mogley wags his tail as Green opens the door. The two unwind up on the couch, and Daniel Green is exactly the same even after he’s taken off his overalls, and hung up his cowboy hat.