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Al Goodwin

Goodwin did it all

Seventh of a series...

By CHRIS LARICK
Staff Writer

In his early years in athletics it could be said that Al Goodwin didn't build programs so much as polish them.

The 1967 Harbor graduate, who will be inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation's Hall of Fame on April 6, moved from assistant duties to Edgewood High School's head boys basketball coach in 1983. Following Jon Hall, a previous inductee into the ACBF Hall of Fame, he served just three years in that capacity before moving on to greater responsibilities.

But Goodwin accomplished much in those three years, including a 47-18 record (.723 winning percentage), a Northeastern Conference championship (1983-84) and a selection as the Star Beacon Ashtabula County Coach of the Year for the 1984-85 season, a year in which Edgewood also claimed a sectional championship. His Warrior teams went 15-7 (9-5 in the NEC), 18-4 (12-2) and 14-7 (12-2). He deflects much of the credit for his success to Hall, who preceded him and still, along with Goodwin, works with the Edgewood basketball program.

"Jon Hall is the guru of basketball to me," he said. "He taught me how important the fundamentals are. I learned that we were gonna drill and do the little things correctly and build on them. He taught me how to break the game down."

While serving as head coach, Goodwin kept teaching at Braden Junior High School, down Route 20 from the high school. He admits not having contact with the kids at the high school was "hard." In 1986, that changed when Don Gill retired as Edgewood's athletic director and Goodwin was asked to replace him.

"I never looked at taking over that position as particularly difficult," Goodwin has said. "I knew I was following two great athletic directors in Ed Batanian and Don Gill. I knew if I had a problem, I could always rely on them for advice."

Goodwin remained as athletic director for 15 years, until he "retired" in 2001. To this day, he keeps active as an educator and coach at Edgewood, if in differing capacities.

One of the most important tasks Goodwin took over while athletic director and maintained beyond that time, was as director of the girls sectional-district basketball tournament held at Edgewood for 19 years, until the Ohio High School Athletic Association pulled the tourney from the school two years ago.

"Ed Batanian (then on the OHSAA's board of directors) asked me to do it," Goodwin said. "I had great help from Frank Roskovics, Bob Callahan and Dik Pavolino. We did it for a long time. People enjoyed it and it helped girls in the area."

The tourney was recently pulled from Edgewood because the OHSAA deemed teams could not play tournament games on their home floor.

"The boys were never allowed to play on their own court," Goodwin said. "But it was all right. After 19 years I had had enough. It takes its toll, though I had a lot of good help."

Goodwin remains active in basketball, serving as a volunteer varsity assistant. Overall, he has been involved with the sport nearly 50 years, dating back to before his years as a point guard at Harbor, coached by Ed Armstrong, who will accompany Goodwin into the ACBF Hall of Fame this year.

"Ed did a lot to point me in the right direction," Goodwin said of Armstrong. "He wasn't just my basketball coach. He, Jon Hall, Ed Batanian and Don Gill — those were special people."

There is a mutual admiration society between the player and his old coach.

"I was so blessed to work with a player like Al," Armstrong, who will join Goodwin in this year's ACBF Hall of Fame class, said. "Over the years, he was the best point guard I ever had at Harbor. He was like a coach on the floor for me. I really felt like he was an extension of what I was thinking."

He gave plenty of headaches to the opponent.

"Al was the point guard at Harbor, and I was glad I didn't have to guard him," Denny Berrier, one of Goodwin's contemporaries while playing at St. John, said. "He was their floor general and a very smart player. He always seemed to find the open man."

Goodwin ran cross country and played basketball and baseball at Harbor. On the basketball team, he was joined on the starting team by Mark Andrews, Dave Dixon, Doug Kalil and John Seferian.

"Seferian was our post player, about 6-5," Goodwin said. "Dave Dixon was a pretty good scorer, along with Doug Kalil, Basically, we were four guards and a post man. We had a couple seniors coming off the bench. We ran the Auburn shuffle, a four-man rotation. I was a pretty good ballhandler and a pretty good defensive player."

The Mariners, who went 7-12 overall when Goodwin was a senior, were led in scoring by Kalil with 13.5 points a game. Dixon added 9.6 and Seferian 8.6. Goodwin, who averaged 6.9 points himself, can take quite a bit of credit for the others' scoring, though, since he averaged a sterling 7.7 assists per game.

For his contributions in the three sports he played, Goodwin was named the recipient of the Johnson-Kinnunen Award as the school's outstanding athlete, the first non-football player to be so honored.

After graduating from Harbor, Goodwin planned to attend the main campus of Kent State University, but had to put those plans on hold when his mother broke her hip. Instead, he enrolled at Kent State University-Ashtabula campus, where he played basketball for Don Gill and Dave Emery. As a junior, he transferred to the main campus, but has pleasant memories of his two-year stay at the Ashtabula campus.

"It had a tremendous impact on me," he said. "The people there knew you. There are a lot of misconceptions about KSU-Ashtabula. It was a good experience for me."

Goodwin joined Ron Richards (who will also be inducted into the ACBF's Hall of Fame on April 6), Riverside brothers Dan and Darrell Dunlap, Billy Johnson (now Ashtabula County's sheriff), Bob Niemi, Sid McPaul and others on KSU-Ashtabula's basketball team.

"We had a pretty difficult league," Goodwin recalls. "Ed Armstrong coached there. It's a shame they don't have basketball anymore. All the branches had teams; it was very competitive. We had good basketball players from all the (area) teams. The Dunlaps and (Ron) Richards were top players from their schools."

Richards counts himself fortunate to have been the recipient of a lot of Goodwin's precision passes.

"Al was all (Richards' Conneaut teams) could handle when he was at Harbor," he said. "It seemed like he could run forever.

"Al was definitely a fantastic ballhandler. He always seemed to be able to get me the ball. I scored a lot of points at the branch because of Al."

The summer after graduating from Kent, 1971, Goodwin married Kathy, whom he had known since before they were in high school. They have been married 36 years.

"Kathy has been an unbelievable source of support for me over the years," Goodwin said.

Goodwin was fortunate enough to find quick employment for the 1971-72 school year, as a sixth-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary, where he stayed 11 years.

"I was a kid coming out of college and a good opportunity came along," he said. "In 1971, there were a few more jobs available."

After serving for a few years as an assistant football coach, Goodwin was asked by Gill to join his basketball staff in 1974. By the early '80s he was working with the basketball team under Hall, where he stayed those three years before becoming athletic director.

In his years as Edgewood's athletic director, Goodwin established a new means of working with Armstrong in his capacity as the AD at Harbor.

"Al and I did were always in communication with each other when we were athletic directors," Armstrong said. "I think we had a great working relationship with each other. Al has always been a class individual and I enjoyed working with him as a part of the City Series and the Northeastern Conference."

Goodwin has always been willing to lend a helping hand. His old teammate Richards can attest to that.

"When I became head track coach at PV, Al was always around to help with the big track meets we held there like the Laker Invitational, the Ashtabula County meet and the (Division II) district meet," Richards said. "He's always been a tremendous help.

"Al Goodwin is just a top-shelf guy. He's a very unselfish person. I consider him a lifelong friend."

Even in "retirement" Goodwin stays busy. As State Teaching Retirement System requires, he stayed out 60 days, then became a proficiency tutor for five years. Then he began working with students who need to pass the Ohio Graduation Test. He gets paid by the hour and can continue to accrue retirement benefits.

Kathy joined Al in retirement from her job with J.C. Penney's recently. Al enjoys fishing with Terry Melaragno out of Conneaut, mostly for perch, but sometimes for walleye. Al and Kathy also enjoy camping.

"We've been camping for 20 years," Goodwin said. "We started with a tent, then went to a pop-up camper, then to a full travel trailer."

Al has also taken up a new hobby since retirement, one that allows him to continue to build and polish. Impressed with one of industrial arts teacher Greg Stolfer's woodworking creations, Kathy inquired about it, and Stolfer told her that he'd teach Al how to fashion something like it.

"I've made five tables or cabinets," Goodwin said. "I make them for the kids. I just like to do it. I have a decent shop now and I can do about anything. Greg Stolfer has taught me a tremendous amount. I never did any woodworking at all before now."

The "kids" Goodwin referred to are his and Kathy's two daughters, Kimberly and Kristi. Kim is married to Kevin Cox and teaches kindergarten at Rootsville, while Kevin practices law in Canton. The couple live in Louisville, about halfway between each of their jobs. They have two sons, Liam, 5, and Ethan, 2.

Kristi married Aaron Feather and the couple has a son, Mason, who will be 2 in May. They live in North Kingsville, with Kristi teaching kindergarten at Ridgeview Elementary, where Al got his teaching start, and Aaron working for Great Lakes Motors.

Larick is a freelance writer from Geneva.