Josh Goodin has decided to end his tenure as McMinn Central High School’s head football coach.
Goodin informed the school’s Athletic Director Doug Armstrong of his resignation on Friday afternoon and broke the news to his players shortly thereafter. Goodin said he is stepping down primarily so he can spend more time with his wife, Julie, and their two sons, Jeb, 11 years old, and Gunner, 8.
“So many guys say it and it’s honestly true — it’s family,” said Goodin. “We’ve had some things go on that have made me really reevaluate my priorities. I feel like my need to spend time with family outweighs my desire to coach these boys. It’s not that my desire to coach is not there, I just feel like, right now, it’s family time for me — my boys need Daddy. That’s essentially the driving force behind this.”
Though confident in his choice to move on from coaching for the foreseeable future, it was not an easy decision for Goodin.
“It really speaks to how good of a life I’ve had that this has probably been one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he said, “but just because it’s not an easy decision doesn’t mean I’m not all in on it.”
He began speaking to school Principal Jeff Gilbert about his potential decision in early February and then brought it to the attention of McMinn County Director of Schools Lee Parkison.
“The main gears started churning about a month ago,” said Goodin.
Armstrong, Gilbert and Parkison will be charged with finding Goodin’s successor. Goodin expects an interim coach to be named until a search is completed to identify his permanent replacement on the Chargers’ sideline.
Goodin added there are no indications that any members of his coaching staff will be departing Central.
“It’s a good staff and I think whoever is the next head coach has got a lot of good pieces in place,” he said.
In his decade leading the program, Goodin compiled a 34-72 record and made playoff appearances in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The 2014 season stands out as his most successful on the field. The Chargers posted a 10-3 record — tied for the most wins in a season in school history — and advanced to the state quarterfinals. The season began with a 41-34 overtime victory over cross-creek rival McMinn County — the Chargers’ first win over the Cherokees in 26 years. The Chargers dominated their first- and second-round games of the playoffs by a combined score of 73-21 before bowing out to Notre Dame at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.
Goodin said the relationships he built with his players will be his most memorable takeaway from his 10-year run as head coach.
“Working with the boys I got to work with; that means more than wins or anything,” he said. “Getting to deal with the kids I got to deal with every year; that’s the fun part of it is all the different personalities and all the different boys you get to fool around with, have fun with, and be around. I think that’s really the biggest highlight of all of it. On top of that, the coaches that I’ve had over the years, too — just getting to interact with them — those are probably the things that I’ll look back on the most fondly.”
Goodin is a 2000 McMinn Central graduate and played football all four of his high school years — starting at center for the Chargers each season from 1997 to 1999.
He went on to play college football at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga for five years, including a redshirt year, and graduated in 2005.
His first foray into coaching was as offensive line coach at McMinn County High School for four years before accepting the head job at his alma mater.
“The ultimate goal when I decided that coaching was what I wanted to do was to get back to Central, not necessarily as the head coach. Fate happened to drop it in my lap at age 27,” he recalled. “It was awesome — there’s really no other word to say. It was a ton of fun and unexpected and I loved every minute of getting to come back here and have an impact on the program.”
Another way Goodin impacted the program was, along with his brothers, Matt, Cody, and Chad, helping to start the Letterman’s Club in 2010 to raise money to purchase jackets for players who earned a varsity letter during the season. The practice of awarding these jackets had “fallen off” in the preceding years, according to Goodin, primarily because the jackets are very expensive.
“We decided we wanted to see that back again,” he said.
As of the 2018 season, the total money raised for this program is approaching $20,000. In addition to paying for the jackets, the Letterman’s Club also gives an annual $500 scholarship to the player who earns the Chargers’ Unsung Hero Award.
This year will mark $4,500 worth of these scholarship awards.
These monies are raised through fundraisers, concession sales during basketball games, T-shirt and discount card sales by the players during the summer, and membership money from past lettermen.
Goodin intends to continue teaching science at Central and his hiatus from coaching may not be permanent.
“I’m stepping away from sports for a little bit,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds for that, but I won’t necessarily rule it out completely. Right now, it’s time to focus on my family and I plan on doing plenty of that.”
As he steps away from the sidelines, Goodin believes there are good days ahead for McMinn Central football.
“I’m excited for the future,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good boys coming back and they’ve been working hard. We’ve had a lot of good participation in after-school workouts. I’m excited to see where they’re going to go this fall. I think somebody’s going to walk into a bunch of hungry boys who are ready to win some games. I’m ready to watch them play some ball.”
Goodin has been involved with football on the field as either a player or coach for nearly his entire life. The forthcoming season will be his first from a fan’s perspective.
“I’m excited to see high school football from this angle and be there to support the boys and cheer them on as loud as I can,” he said.
McMinn Central held its football banquet on Sunday. Coverage of the banquet will appear in The Daily Post-Athenian later this week.