CEDAR RAPIDS — Until the last two seasons, Michelle Goodall was a consistent winner at Cedar Rapids Kennedy. But her legacy will be participation.
“It was a unique set-up,” Goodall said Wednesday, shortly after her resignation as Kennedy’s volleyball coach was announced. “The school, the district, it embraced my philosophy.
“We had our share of success, but hopefully the number of kids we had out was the trademark of our program.”
Goodall spoke Wednesday at a coffee shop, just days before she moves to Edmond, Okla., home base for the U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team. She was hired as an assistant coach for the reigning gold-medal Paralympic team, effective Tuesday.
“Michelle possesses all the abilities needed for a great assistant coach and is well suited for the role,” Team USA head coach Bill Hamiter said. “She is also very familiar with the team due to her role as team leader for the squad since 2016. Michelle is very passionate about this team and I know she will do an outstanding job.”
A 1985 Kennedy graduate, Goodall will split time between Edmond and Cedar Rapids.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said. “Breaking ties with Kennedy is super hard.”
In 20 seasons, Goodall compiled a 477-273 record. She led the Cougars to six state tournament appearances, including four straight semifinal berths between 2008 and 2011.
The last three of those four semifinal losses came to Iowa City West. Two of those, plus a semifinal loss to Johnston in 2008, were five-setters.
Kennedy returned to state in 2015. The 2006 and 2015 teams won MVC divisional titles.
The program slipped the past two seasons, though, to 10-23 in 2017 and 15-20 last fall.
“She developed a program that was incredibly successful in encouraging participation and valuing every athlete regardless of their volleyball skills or background,” Kennedy Athletics Director Aaron Stecker said in a statement Wednesday.
“One might argue that carrying such high numbers would diminish the ability of a program to achieve high levels of success, but Coach Goodall found a way to do both — embrace the participation of so many, and also find success at the varsity level.”
“Her ability to balance the competitive nature of high-level volleyball with the participatory nature of a no-cut program will be deeply missed and difficult to replace.”
Kennedy annually had between 85 and 120 girls out for the sport in grades 9-12.
In 2016, Goodall served as a “team leader,” like a director of operations, for the Team USA women’s Paralympic team.
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