Prep Basketball: A trip down memory lane with a legendary coach
By Matt Nestor
Here are some of iconic high school basketball coach Steve Goers’ favorite moments in his career, in his own words.
His first win
“My very first win against Plymouth when I was at Bardolph,” Goers said. “Our high school had 58 or 59 students. I taught driver’s education, health, P.E., U.S. history, world history, Constitution. I coached baseball in the spring and in the fall, basketball. Varsity and freshman and sophomore basketball. I didn’t have an assistant, so I had to coach both games. Then, baseball and track in the spring. The guys would have to change clothes to go to a track meet after baseball. One of the guys from that team, Kent Watson, and I was only there one year, still comes to one of our games every year.”
His first trip down state
“The next biggest moment was at Oswego. They had never won a game at regionals,” Goers said.
“The first year I was there, we got beat in the first game of regionals by Aurora West, and they finished third that year,” Goers said. “John McDougal was their coach. We lost that game, but I was going to have four starters coming back. When that game was over, he said, ‘Next year, it’s going to be your time, Steve.’
“So, next year comes around, and it’s halftime, and we’re playing Aurora West, with Aurora East waiting in the next round, and they were ranked high in the state,” Goers said. “They were loaded. We’re down 5 points at halftime to the same team, and I told them at halftime, ‘A year ago, the coach in the other locker room said this is our turn. It’s our turn, now let’s take care of business,’ and we did.
“Against Aurora East, we had another tough game,” Goers continued. “We had starters in foul trouble and sophomores out on the floor. At halftime, I told them, ‘This is going to be one of the greatest days of my life because my wife told me she’s pregnant, and we’re going to finish this game with Aurora East.’ We went into overtime and turned the ball over, and our 5-foot-4-inch guard Steve Doorman chased this kid down who is about 6 feet, 2 inches, he went to lay it up and bricked it, Steve got the rebound and took it down and scored, and we win the game in overtime. It was unbelievable.
“We had to beat Wheaton North next, who had a kid who went to North Carolina State,” Goers continued. “A Glenbard West team whose smallest starter was 6 feet, 4 inches, and they went up to 6 feet, 9 inches. We took four or five charges in the first quarter because they wanted to post our guards up. They just took charge after charge, and we won by 17. We went to DeKalb in the old fieldhouse and played Crystal Lake, who had beat us earlier in the year.
“We went down state in a charter bus,” Goers said. “Across the street from the high school was the grade school, and they let all the kids out to cheer for us. They had a plane fly above us. Our kids were so overwhelmed by the whole deal. We couldn’t get wet in a sinking boat. We got down state, and we made the other team look like the Celtics. Jay Miller was terrific. He was a 57 percnet shooter from the field for the season, he was 0-11. That was a great thrill, because it was the first team I went down state with.”
His first titles at Boylan
“The biggest game at Boylan was in the second year when we got to the finals of the sectionals,” Goers said. “The last game of the year of our regular season was at Guilford. They had two replacement officials. These guys were terrible. If we had won the game, we would have clinched a tie for a conference championship, which would have been the first one we ever had. We got beat in this game. There was a call where a guy bounced the ball and faked, and our guy went right by him. Then, he bounced the ball again and shot the ball and they count it, they didn’t blow the whistle and call double dribble. I got off the bench, and I went across the floor at the official, I got the technicals and we got beat. After the game, I told the kids, ‘We got beat by these guys, but it’s not the biggest game we’ll play here this year. In two weeks, we take care of business, we’ll come back here and beat them.’ Two weeks later, we beat them by 17.”
From the May 18-24, 2011 issue