When Sacramento High School girls basketball coach Michele Massari decided to add Al Green and Raphael Durr to her coaching staff, she knew there would be rumblings.
"I was warned a lot that it wasn't a good idea to have parents in the program," said Massari, in her fourth year as the Dragons' coach. "But I remember my own experience playing basketball for my father growing up. It was a huge positive. He's the biggest reason I decided to become a coach."
Green's daughter, Allie Green, is the Dragons' senior sharpshooting wing, and Durr's daughter, Chaya, is the team's big-play junior guard.
The synergy between fathers, daughters, coaches and teammates has become a win-win for Sac High, which has won three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section titles and will be the first area girls team to play in the inaugural Open Division of the CIF Northern California playoffs. The fifth-seeded Dragons (27-4) play tonight at No. 4 St. Mary's of Berkeley (28-4).
"They bring a lot to the table, and I've had an amazing relationship with them," Massari said of Al Green and Raphael Durr. "They are demanding of their kids, don't show favoritism and are committed to our team."
Al Green, a personal trainer, is the team's shooting coach; Raphael Durr, who works for Wells Fargo, mentors the post players. They are former players who coached their daughters in youth basketball and also help with Massari's AAU team, Cal Sparks NorCal.
With Green, Durr, Lloyd Hillman, Alex Van Dyke and Lauren Goodman, Massari also has perhaps the deepest and most imposing-looking girls coaching staff in the area.
Hillman played basketball at Hiram Johnson and Stanislaus State; Van Dyke, a strength and conditioning guru, starred in football at Burbank and played in the NFL. The 6-foot-2 Goodman, another Burbank product, played at Jackson State.
"People kid me and say that I have an entourage," Massari said. "I feel blessed to have such a great coaching staff. They play a huge part in our success."
Before Al Green and Raphael Durr joined Massari's staff, they had to get their daughters' blessings.
"I love it," Allie Green said. "I grew up with my dad teaching me basketball, so I love to have his point of view. But what makes it even better is that he treats every girl on the team the same."
Chaya Durr feels just as strongly.
"My dad's always been my coach and a role model for me," Durr said. "I thought it was great when he decided to coach."
Massari is known as a taskmaster, often loudly critiquing her players during practices and games. Even as team leaders, Allie Green and Chaya Durr receive their share of barbed criticism.
While they are coaches first, Raphael Durr and Al Green sometimes feel they have 19 daughters while trying to be a calming counterpoint to the sometimes caustic Massari.
"I'll let Michele know when she's getting on (Allie) in the right way and when she's picking on her, and not just with my daughter," Al Green said. "I treat all these girls like my daughters. Michele and I have a great relationship. We can sit down, say what we feel and hug each other like brother and sister when we're done speaking our minds."
Adds Raphael Durr: "We argue - we do it all - but at the end of the day, we all love each other. We're still a family."
Allie Green, who missed last season while rehabbing an ACL injury, has signed with Pepperdine. Chaya Durr has several college offers, including one from Utah.
While dedicated to basketball, they occasionally reach their limits.
"I'll get frustrated sometimes - I won't know what to do - because coach Michele will tell me one thing, my dad another and another coach something else," Allie Green said. "But that's what's good about our relationship. In the end, we'll come together and straighten things out. Communication is our key."
Chaya Durr has what she calls the 24-hour rule.
"Sometimes coach Michele will go hard, hard and hard on me, and I'll need a break," she said. "My dad will start to say something, and I'll go, 'Twenty-four hours, then we'll talk about it.' "
Raphael Durr said he had to adjust to the evolving coaching relationship with his daughter, which has changed significantly since she was a youth player.
"Last year, I was in her ear too much, and it was kind of hard," he said. "This year, I've told her I'd sit back and let her do her thing and have her listen to Michele. I feel our relationship is a lot better, and she's played better."
Al Green says there have been bumpy patches with his daughter, too.
"I'm tough on her," Al Green said. "She'd rather ride home with her mom than with her daddy after games.
"But she has a super thick skin and has become a real student of the game. On Monday, we had a hard two-hour practice, and I wasn't done training until 10 (p.m.), and she still wanted to come shoot basketballs with me. That's a beautiful thing."
That's the beauty in the father-daughter bonds, Massari said.
"My dad coached football at Nevada Union, Freedom (in Oakley) and Pittsburg, and I was always at his practices and games," Massari said. "He was loud and funny, and you could see the impact he had on his players."
Mike Massari kids Michele that she's a lot tougher on her players than he was on his.
"We talk after every game, and he critiques me," said Michele Massari, who plans to have her father speak to the players before tonight's game. "He's a very proud dad. He bakes the players cookies at Christmas. He loves this team."
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.