Matt Greene's college choice
Greene's hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich., is about 15 miles from the campus of Michigan State, where his mom Darcy teaches at the School of Journalism. Matt grew up a Spartans fan. He often attended games and he looked up to all the players, Jim said. It was his dream school.
Matt was set on going to school at Michigan State.
But in October of 2001 -- while Greene was playing for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL -- Michigan State's plans for Matt had changed. After offering him a scholarship, they called him and told him they were going in another direction.
At the time, it was disappointing for the Greenes. Matt figured he was going to be able to play at his dream school. His parents figured they were going to be able to drive down the street to watch him play college hockey. Jim said that in the end, it worked out for the best.
After Michigan State told Greene they were going in a different direction, Green Bay assistant coach Ian Kallay (a former UND player and current Michigan Tech assistant) got on the phone and called UND.
Upon hearing this, UND assistant Brad Berry attended Greene's very next home game. Berry told Greene that Dave Hakstol (an assistant at the time) would be going to watch a game in Chicago on Halloween night. Hakstol attended that game and told Matt afterward that he was prepared to offer him a scholarship.
Jim said that UND ended up being the perfect place for Matt.
"Matthew loved his experience at UND," Jim said. "He loved the community, he loved the coaches... everything was perfect. It was the happiest three years of his life. We are convinced that Matt wouldn't be where he is today if it wasn't for Dean Blais, Dave Hakstol, Brad Berry and Cary Eades. Matt just thinks the world of those guys. It couldn't have worked out any better."
After his junior year, it was evident that it was time to move on for Greene. He was ready for the NHL. Jim said that everyone seemed to be sure of this except for Matt himself.
"It was hard for him. He still had some twinges about it. He just felt incredibly supported by the community and the university. The program is so important to him and will be for the rest of his life. He'll always be part of the Sioux family," Jim said.
He also said that Matt still thinks about 2005 national championship game, which UND lost to Denver 4-1. "That still haunts him," Jim said.
Even though Matt wasn't on the team this season, Jim still made trips to see UND play, too. He went to the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul and the NCAA Frozen Four in Milwaukee.
Despite not getting what he originally wanted -- a spot at Michigan State -- the Greenes were happy with how things worked out.
I'm sure it's safe to say UND is too.