By Matt Nestor
After a 30-year run the likes of which has never been seen in the state, Boylan Catholic High School boys’ basketball coach Steve Goers has decided to step down and retire.
“As far as basketball coaching, personally, what else is there to prove?” Goers said. “I’ve always said ‘God, family, education, then basketball.’ But the basketball had been ahead of family too long by putting other parents’ sons as my priority. There’s a big world out there. Because of the restrictions of this position, which is 11 months a year, we haven’t really been able to explore it.”
Goers retires as the all-time winningest coach in Illinois state history with 881 wins. His name is also all over the record book when it comes to state championship appearances, as well as regional and sectional titles.
Goers said holding the records is not important, but he does still enjoy coaching the game. Ultimately, it was a desire to spend time with his wife and travel to see his children and grandchildren that led to his decision.
“The competition every year against some of the best teams in the state is something I always looked forward to,” he said. “I still would look forward to it, I would love to go out and coach some more, but I want to do something different with my life. I have the fire to go out and coach again. But right now, I have more of a hunger to go out and do different things, live life.”
Goers amassed his wins at five different schools, including Bardolph, Oswego, LaSalle-Peru and Harvard before settling in and building an iconic program at Boylan.
While the winning at Boylan was the ultimate prize, Goers said it was as much about the camaraderie and the family environment that made his last job special.
“There is a family atmosphere there,” he said. “You knew if things were going wrong, you would always have someone that would give you a smile and give you a pick up. You feel like once you’re a Titan, you are always a Titan.”
While looking back at his career, hundreds of moments flooded to the coach’s mind, and there are hundreds of people to whom he said he owes a lot. But he said none of this historic career would have been possible if not for his time spent as an assistant at Quincy High School
Goers was an assistant under Sherrill Hanks at Quincy for several years. That included a trip down state. Goers said Hanks showed him what it took to be a successful coach.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mentor,” Goers said. “He was a tremendous coach who is in the Hall of Fame. He was a guy that was my coach. When I talked to him, I always called him ‘Coach,’ that’s just he way it was. I would have never been able to get a head coaching job at Oswego unless I had been an assistant at Quincy.”
At the end of the day, Goers said he has no doubt he will miss the competition. But he said the hard work and the ability to improve someone’s life through sports will be missed just as much.
“When the ball goes up, there’s adrenaline as a player and a coach,” he said. “Seeing the end result was always great. Seeing the end results of our hard work, maturing into something that is positive.”
From the May 11-17, 2011 issue