OAKLAND'S OWN: Royal Oak Shrine football coach
tackles health problems
September 16, 2004
BY MARK SNYDER
FREE PRESS STAFF
It doesn't take long to see John Goddard's impact at football
The 59-year-old Royal Oak Shrine coach, coaching at his alma
mater, walks the field, offering advice and overseeing every
Any good coach -- and, after 36 years in the coaching business
and a spot in the Michigan Football Coaches Hall of Fame, Goddard
qualifies -- will say consistency is vital to success.
The past two years off the field have tested the coach's will.
There were three major health problems. Every time one was
addressed, another one emerged.
Yet through all that time, Goddard remained a constant presence
for his players and coaches.
Ironically, the hardest moments of Goddard's life began with one
of the happiest.
As Goddard put on his tuxedo two years ago, preparing for son
John's August wedding, he felt tired.
A few days later, Goddard reluctantly saw his doctor. Soon he was
in Beaumont Hospital for a heart catheterization. Blocked arteries,
Four days in the hospital and a week off your feet.
For the first time since he began coaching, he missed practice
for health reasons. He was right across the street from Shrine's
field at Beaumont.
"From my room, I couldn't see the field," he said. "Which may
have been a good thing because that year went 2-7."
He returned to coach that season, moving a little slower but
feeling good and, supposedly, healthier for it.
By October 2003, more than a year later an annual physical
revealed high PSA levels (showing a cancerous prostate), which
Injections to stop the cancer's spread began and would last for a
two-year cycle. Radiation treatments, which lasted five days a week
for about eight weeks, were a more immediate, intensive treatment.
Problem No. 2 was addressed and remedied.
Then last spring, during a CT scan to see if the cancer had
returned, doctors noticed an unrelated spot on his left kidney.
His doctor told him he was lucky. Goddard replied, "Up until this
point, I'm not feeling so lucky, doc."
The luck was in the CT scan, a procedure not normally used in
cases like this. The good fortune was the cancer was contained and
the damaged kidney could be removed. On June 18, Goddard was out of
work another 10 days.
Throughout, Goddard was strong in the face of adversity,
something he demands of his players.
"He deals with most of it on his own," said Lou Miramonti,
Shrine's former athletic director who hired Goddard and is a close
friend. "He'll just say it's no big deal."
Now, fingers crossed, Goddard is in the clear. He's running
practice, has a 3-0 team, and said he's never felt better.
"The doctors, I can't thank them enough," Goddard said. "Had
these guys not done their due diligence, who knows what might have
Goddard makes the rounds to his various doctors and keeps getting
tested -- for everything.
"You hear all the ads that say, 'Do you have a Beaumont doctor?'
Well, I've got a ton of Beaumont doctors," Goddard said, laughing.
"My dad is 87 and I have more doctors than he does."
He realizes the problems are part of aging -- Goodard's own high
school coach, Al Fracassa, had a similar heart procedure this
summer. He's begun to appreciate what he has -- especially his
family, wife Gloria and his children, John and Andrea.
He now meets wife Gloria for lunch during a workday and son John
coaches with him.
"They're pretty strong too, we're a football family," Goddard
said. "But you realize they become your top priority."
AROUND THE ARC: Coaches who attend Paul
Galbenski's annual coaching academy at Royal Oak Kimball each
fall know what to expect: Informed presenters, player demonstrations
and a great chance to network.
But this year's clinic, held Saturday in Kimball's gym, added
some new basketball technology -- it introduced NOAH.
An innovative shooting machine, NOAH is the size of a speaking
lectern and sits off to the side of the court, analyzing a shot's
arc. Players set their number of repetitions and a loudspeaker
announces each shot and the arc, to improve a player's consistency.
A multi-color printout is available afterward to see the variance in
Galbenski, who is a Midwest distributor for the California-born
business, demonstrated the machine to the Michigan State and Oakland
University basketball coaches and the response was enthusiastic.
Oakland is seriously considering a purchase.
With a $20,000 price tag, they probably won't be flying into mass
production but with four NBA teams already using NOAH, it's likely
to pop up at colleges nationwide.
"It's such a brand-new product, it's only out in the past year,"
RAPID FIRE: For those who will struggle to get inside Oakland
Hills this weekend for the Ryder Cup, Mulligan's Golf Center in
Auburn Hills is offering some golf history of its own at 7 p.m.
Golf pro David Ogron, who lives in Laguna Beach, Calif., will try
to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark by hitting the most
golf balls in one hour.
He holds the 24-hour record (10,392) and the 12-hour record
(6,971). His plan is to hit 2,300 golf balls in the period from 7-8
p.m. The event will raise money to help care for Livonia's Bob
Hanner, who faces severe medical costs after he suffered a
spinal-cord injury in May 2003.
Contact MARK SNYDER at 248-351-3688 or email@example.com.