Jay’s Sporting Goods Coach’s Corner: Houghton Lake’s Jeff Goodwin
By: Cody O’Rourke
The Houghton Lake School system has endured multiple coaching changes across almost all of the sports, and the effects of continually change over a period of time can be destabilizing. The constant change over puts a community in flux and the student body has a tendency to loose focus on the direction of the program, as each coach is likely to bring their own strategic vision to the program.
In the hopes to bring some consistency to the athletic program, the Houghton Lake school systems is diligently trying to find energetic people who can navigate the athletic scene and pull the community together.
Most recently, they reached out to Houghton Lake alumni Jeff Goodwin to take over the helms as the top brass for the HLHS basketball position. Goodwin is a local guy, currently a teacher in the Beaverton School district, one of the Jack Pine’s schools working at the high school level.
Goodwin represents a new breed of coach, one that is up to date with the current trends in technology, has an understanding of how to connect with, and has the ability to work with the media to promote and grow his program.
The Jack Pine Tribune recently sat down with Coach Goodwin to talk to him about his experiences and philosophies on coaching and athletics.
Jack Pine Tribune: What made you decide to take up the coaching position at Houghton Lake?
Coach Jeff Goodwin: Coaching Varsity basketball has always been one of my career goals. I am a gym rat who loves the game. Being that I am a teacher at Beaverton, I knew Coach Johnston wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, rightfully so, therefore, when Houghton Lake posted there position I felt like it was a great opportunity.
JPC: What previous experiences have you had at coaching?
JG: I have coached my brother’s summer league team for six years and then was the Freshman coach at Houghton Lake two years ago.
JPC: What all sports did you play at Houghton Lake?
JG: While at Houghton Lake I played Basketball for four years, Soccer for 3 years and I dabbled with Baseball and Football. Basketball was my real passion and soccer was the best training tool for basketball.
JPC: What are the responsibilities of coaching other than teaching the X’s and O’s of the game?
JG: I take pride in the idea of student/athletes. Keeping on top of the grades, behavior, and conduct of my players are extremely important responsibilities for me. In addition, to get this program where we need to be, fundraising and community involvement need to be drastically improved.
JPC: What are your disciplinary policies as a coach?
JG: Zero tolerance. I believe that sports are a privilege, not a right and therefore, your second chances are waived. Drug, alcohol, and legal mishaps will have damning repercussions for any aspiring player in Houghton Lake. In addition, the classroom has to come first. If a player is struggling academically, they need to turn their focus away from basketball and on to academics.
JPC: How does a coach find that balance of making room for individual attention while not sacrificing the overall welfare of the team?
JG: Individual acknowledgment is fine, but I am not a big fan of the superstar system. My players will understand and be humbled toward the notion that 1 player will not beat 1 team, but 1 team will beat 5 players. It may come across as abrasive or demanding, but every Houghton Lake basketball player will need to check their ego at the door.
JPC: What type of things do you keep you motivated and focused?
JG: I look for competition everywhere. I don’t care if it is the JPC championship, a non-conference game, or the team GPA comparisons. I want to win EVERYTHING. When you look for competition in every aspect, it is very easy to stay focused and motivated.
JPC: What roll do you think the parents should play in the program?
JG: I am very transparent and love having the parents involved. I want them at the games cheering, helping with fundraisers, attending open gyms, talking to me about the game. The only real boundary I put up is that I am steadfast and confident in the system I am putting in place. I will probably not be seeking a lot of outside advice regarding our offensive and defensive philosophies.