Prep Football

Kal Goodchild is back coaching, back at Benton Community

Ogden column: And that's a good thing for Eastern Iowa sports

Kal Goodchild, Benton Community
Kal Goodchild, Benton Community

Kal Goodchild is hoping the third time is the charm.

“Just like a bad penny you can’t get rid of,” the 60-year old former and current Benton Community High School football coach said with a laugh Wednesday.

In April 2019, I used this space to write how Goodchild was off to his “next adventure,” although he wasn’t quite sure what that would be.

Goodchild was stepping away from his coaching position at Benton Community — for the second time. He’s coached at the school for 23 years total, compiling a 149-59 record. But several factors, including his IPERS, made him look at “retirement” a little more seriously.

So he sat last year out.

He said last April he “wasn’t ready to get out of coaching.” He was looking for another challenge, another school to help.

It turns out his next adventure was in his backyard and that charmed life already was a reality.

“I’ve been the luckiest guy in the world,” Goodchild said. “I didn’t think I was done, but I did think I was done at Benton.

“It was just a good, natural fit,”

Goodchild will return as “co-coach” with Jeff Zitterguen, who led the Bobcats to an 8-2 record and a Class 2A district title last fall. Zitterguen played for Goodchild and was coaching at Cedar Rapids Prairie when Goodchild convinced him to return “home.” Now the two will work together and Goodchild couldn’t be happier.

“We had talked about it before ... that we would do it together,” Goodchild said. “It’s a great situation.”

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Goodchild then laughed and said “if things go bad, I blame it on Jeff” and if things go well, well, the opposite will be true.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with him and his family,” Goodchild said. “He’s an awesome kid.”

It’s good to have coaches like Goodchild back. I wrote last April he “is one of the good guys coaching our high school students. We’re fortunate in Eastern Iowa to have a number of coaches who spend countless hours in and out of season, molding our children into better athletes and better people.”

Media folks like coaches who promote their programs in a positive way, who feed us with good information. Goodchild always was the first to send his questionnaire to The Gazette, usually before we even asked for it. That’s how he announced his return, with a questionnaire noting 2020 will be a “challenging” season with a move to Class 3A and a district that includes Cedar Rapids Xavier, Clear Creek Amana and Grinnell.

» Iowa high school football 2020 offseason rankings: Class 3A

“We’ve got our work cut out for us this year,” said a man who has coached teams to nine conference or district titles.

Of course, 2020 could pose problems that don’t include position battles, tackling drills and tough schedules. With the coronavirus lingering and surging in some spots, there are legitimate questions if a fall sports season will happen.

Goodchild thinks a 2020 season will happen.

“It will be interesting to see how they do it,” he said.

He called himself a “hands-on” coach and knows things will be different when — or if — practice begins on Aug. 10. He’s not worried about getting infected, but admitted “I should, but I don’t.”

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He’s healthy and said he feels much younger than 60 “except when I see a picture of myself.” He’s excited about being called “coach” once again.

And he has one more reason for returning.

“I haven’t reached one of my goals,” he said, not mentioning but clearly talking about a state title. “I can’t reach it if I’m not coaching.”

The third time will be a charm — again — no matter what, but it also will be his final run.

“When I’m done this time, I’m done for good.”

Comments: jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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