Prep Basketball

State basketball a Goodman family tradition

Ogden column: In started in first girls' state tournament in 1920

A poster depicting the Goodman family legacy in Iowa basketball history. (Family photo)
A poster depicting the Goodman family legacy in Iowa basketball history. (Family photo)
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In 1920, Marie Goodman helped Correctionville capture the first girls’ basketball state championship in Iowa.

On Wednesday, Joe Goodman will play in his second state tournament as a guard for the Iowa City boys’ team.

The line that connects Marie and Joe is a fascinating tale of basketball in Iowa, one that easily could make the Goodmans the “first family” of high school basketball in this state.

“I regret now not asking her more about it,” said Tom Goodman, a Hall of Fame player and coach, historian and keeper of the family tale.

Tom, 73, is Marie’s nephew. His father — Marie’s brother — was W.A. Conrad (Connie) Goodman. Connie was a Hall of Fame boys’ coach who took Bronson to state tournaments in 1932 and ’35 and Fort Dodge in 1949.

Tom was a two-time all-stater for his dad at Fort Dodge. He later coached four different teams to the state tournament — HLV, Sioux City North, Fort Dodge and Saydel. Three of those teams played in the championship game, including HLV in 1973.

Tom’s sons — Tommy John and Jay — were all staters, as well. Tommy John, who died in June at age 52 after a short battle with cancer, played at North and recently was recognized as one of the Top 50 players in Iowa. Jay led Fort Dodge to the 1988 state championship, scoring 36 points in the title game. He went on to play at Iowa State and Utah State and was the last player cut by the Golden State Warriors in 1993.

Tommy John and Jay, like their dad, are in the Hall of Fame as players.

Joe, the senior at West, is Jay’s son.

That’s a pretty special trail of basketball, all started by a 15-year-old freshman in 1920.

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“I’ve know since I was a little kid we were a basketball family,” Joe said. “I’ve had a basketball in my hands since I was 1.”

While Joe will head to Missouri next year and study journalism — he’s the sports editor of the West Side Story and has had several of his article published in The Gazette — Tom continues to coach. In his 50th year, Tom is the junior varsity coach and varsity assistant at Bondurat-Farrar.

“It’s a way of life,” Tom said.

Tom isn’t sure where, or why, basketball became the family business. He said he grew up across the street from Fort Dodge High School and vividly remembers going over to the gym at a very young age to watch varsity practice.

“I just hung around basketball all the time,” he said.

Jay, who was in Las Vegas this weekend to watch his alma mater upset No. 5 San Diego State and win the Mountain West tournament title, said basketball was something he and his brother “were just good at.”

“Basketball was what we grew up with,” he said. “That was our time to spend with dad ... he just loves, loves basketball.”

Tom and Jay said Marie never talked about the game or her place in Iowa’s basketball history.

“I never knew she played,” Jay said.

But he did know Marie once taught NBA legend Don Nelson at Rock Island High School. During his time with Golden State, Nelson was his coach and remembered Jay’s great aunt.

Jay, however, never considered coaching himself — other than with his sons in a variety of sports.

“My dad kind of got sick of always being the new kid in school,” Joe said.

Jay played for three different high school teams.

“He still likes coaching me,” Joe said with a laugh. “It’s definitely in his blood somewhere.”

Jay and Tom will be in Des Moines this week, watching Joe and West chase the Class 4A state title.

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“Joe’s a fun kid to watch,” Jay said. “... a better defender than I ever was.”

Joe’s brother, Eric, is a football player at West “carving his own path,” Jay said. He does not play basketball. Fourth-grade Eric, however, was with grandpa on Sunday and “will be the next” family star.

Tommy John also has an eight-grade son who plays basketball.

The legacy continues.

“I’ve definitely got a lot of it from my family,” Joe said. “I wanted to do something they can be proud of.

“You don’t want it to end with you.”

Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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