‘I’m Famous’

No, not me.

Let me explain. I’m sitting in the office the other day and I get a call from Elton Goodwin, the former baseball coach at South Kitasp.

“I’m famous,” Elton says.

You’re what?

“I’m famous.”

Elton, it turns out, was shopping in Port Orchard recently when he bumped into Larry Nelson, a longtime coach at Cedar Heights Junior High who played for Elton in 1974. Nelson told Elton, “You’re famous.”

Nelson goes on to tell Elton that he was featured in “The Great List of Seattle Sports Lists,” written by Art Thiel, Mike Gastineau and Steve Rudman. That threesome turned to Craig Smith, who wrote the “Sideline Smitty” column for the Seattle Times for years, to produce a top-10 list of the best coaches in state high school history.

Smitty, like Elton, is one of my favorite people. He called one day to talk about the book and asked if we (Kitsap County/West Sound) had any coaches worthy of being on that list. It took about a nano second for me to shoot back: “Elton Goodwin. He really deserves consideration.” And I went on to explain why.

Elton is the best high school coach I’ve ever seen. I could go on and on about why I think that, but his record speak for itself: three state titles and a 491-136 career record from 1976-2003. As Smitty wrote on page 74 of the book: “Goodwin never stopped his quest for baseball knowledge and always grilled pros and his returning college players for tips and drills.” He produced dozens of college players — I think at one point former SK assistant Don Smith told me there were 24 former Wolves playing college baseball at the same time. Five of Elton’s former players have played at the major-league level: Willie Bloomquist, Sean Spencer, Jason Ellison, Jason Hammel and Aaron Cunningham.

Goodwin, whose final game was a win in the 2003 Class 4A state championship game, came in at No. 10 on the list.

No. 1? The late Terry Ennis, the legendary football coach from Everett who coached at Stanwood, Renton, Cascade (Everett) and Archbishop Murphy.

Who do you think is the greatest high school coach to come out of the area? The late Ken Willis, I know, would get a lot of support from players of that era (the 1940s/50s). How about Les Eathorne, the East High/Bremerton hoops coach? Or Chuck Semancik, the late West High/Bremerton football coach? Bob Moawad and Art Ellis were only here for a short time, but they certainly left their mark at Central Kitsap?

2 thoughts on “‘I’m Famous’

  1. If geographically expanded to include the “Puget Sound Area”, I would add Coach Mike Huard to the list. Mike was the Head Football Coach at Puyallup High School from the mid 80’s to late 90’s. The list of award winning quarterbacks who have played for him and gone on to either college or professional success at some level is impressive. Billy Joe Hobert, Damon Huard, Brock Huard and Luke Huard.

    Most importantly Mike survived being my Driver’s Ed Instructor when I attended Puyallup High School. The man has nerves of steel.

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