By Matt Nestor
You can look at a lot of different numbers to try to measure just how great recently-retired Boylan Catholic High School boys’ basketball coach Steve Goers was.
You can look at his win total, 881, which is the most ever in the state.
Maybe you want to look at the 17 state final tournament appearances, another record.
If that doesn’t do it, surely the seven consecutive trips to the state final tournament from 1994-2000 will impress you, which is also a record for consecutive sectional titles.
You need more? What about 25 regional titles, also a record, 23 of which came at Boylan, which would still be a record anyway? Also a record 19-straight years winning a regional title.
How about 16 sectional titles, 15 of which came at Boylan (again, enough on their own to be a record)?
Those are all impressive numbers and proof of just how dominant a program the legendary coach built at Boylan in his 30 years.
But going back to 24. In his 30 years at Boylan, his Titans averaged just more than 24 wins per season.
The Titans, under Goers, only had one losing season, his first, and only had two other seasons when they did not win at least 20 games.
A 20-win season is considered a banner year anywhere you go. The fact that his Titans could churn out 20 wins in their sleep is a testament to just how good a coach Goers is.
You can point to talent, but talent can only get you so far. The talent needs to be developed and pointed in the right direction, and nobody did it better than coach Goers.
In his aftermath, his successor will not have an easy task. The first season without 20 wins will be the school’s first since 1990.
Beyond that, it also puts more pressure on schools in the area to carry that banner if there is any slip up in the Boylan program.
Around the state, Rockford basketball is associated with Boylan. The runs of Auburn and East this season were magical, but they will need to be duplicated many times over before they can reach the kind of level Goers put his program at.
Rockford will miss its living legend. Whether you love Boylan or not, he was always a polarizing figure that could easily start up a conversation between local basketball fans.
As those debates turn into their proper reverence in the wake of the retirement of the legend, and people try to remember all those numbers, if nothing else, 24 should be an easy one to think of.
From the May 11-17, 2011 issue