Joe Goodman has spent a lot of enjoyable Friday nights at Bulleit Stadium, but he says last Friday will rank at the top of the list.
Goodman, Seymour High School’s former football coach, was honored by several of his former players at halftime of the game against Floyd Central and received an Owl Service Award last week.
It was Cancer Awareness Night at the stadium, with a collection taken up at intermission. The money raised is going to the Don and Dana Myers Cancer Center.
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The Owls topped off the night by rallying to defeat Floyd Central 27-22.
“This is great,” Goodman said. “I didn’t expect this at all. There were so many players here, and you realize why we were pretty good.”
A total of 46 former players, plus men who coached under Goodman, were on the field when he received the award from Dave Urbanski, assistant athletics director at SHS.
“I’m proud of the boys. I’m proud of this community. It was fun to be honored here tonight,” Goodman said.
Goodman, who is battling cancer, was a head football coach for 38 years, including 30 years at Seymour, before retiring in 2003.
In his final six season coaching the Owls, he was 53-17, and he was 119-54 over his final 16 years. He won 202 games during his career. Goodman is Seymour’s all-time winningest coach.
He coached 65 all-state players, 16 Indiana All-Stars, 54 academic all-state players and 209 all-conference players in both the South Central and Hoosier Hills conferences. He coached the Owls to six sectional titles and two regionals and to the state championship game in 1991, where the Owls lost to Hobart.
Two of his former players on hand Friday night were Rob Henkle and Greg Prange.
Henkle is a teacher and coach at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, and Prange is principal at Seymour High School.
Both are cancer survivors.
“The Seymour football program, to me, has been a big part of my life for 40 years,” Henkle said. “My brothers played. I’ve had nephews play here. Seymour football has always been a point of pride for me.
“Having been through a cancer problem personally and knowing all of the things that have happened here with all the people, all the walks and things they have down here, my nieces have been big sponsors in the walk for life and things down here.
“Knowing what Mr. Goodman has gone through and the people down here, it’s great to see everybody putting money in and taking care of each other down here. Seymour is a great place for that.
“I see coach Goodman every year at the coaches’ clinics, and he’s always so open, so vibrant with everybody up there, and everybody in the coaching fraternity knows him. It’s nice to have someone like that on your side.”
Prange said it was an opportunity for a lot of the students to see the history of Seymour football.
“There are an awful lot of really, really important members of Seymour football history out here in honor of coach Goodman, and they’re here because of all the love that he showed us over the years,” Prange said. “We wanted to show that back to coach Goodman tonight. It was a really nice night. You know coach has been battling this devil’s disease for too long now. To see his face light up when he saw his players come out here (onto the field), I know he’ll remember this evening.
“It was such an inspiring evening. I was so glad that the weather held out and we could make this thing happen tonight for coach, and it was wonderful that he could be here tonight to honor us with his presence.”
Goodman, who was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1998, said healthwise, he’s doing well.
“I had a CT (Friday), and we’ll find out Monday how I’m doing. My health has been real good, so hopefully, we can keep it going,” Goodman said.
In July, Goodman received the Bob Springer President’s Award from the Indiana Football Coaches Association. That award is named in honor of the former Indianapolis Washington High School coach, who was one of the founders of the IFCA.
Goodman was president of the IFCA in 1982 and was head coach of the South All-Stars in 1998 and an assistant coach three other times.
Last winter, Goodman was inducted into the Seymour High School Athletic Hall of Fame.