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Girls' basketball 3A and below coach of the year: Tony Goodman, Peyton

By: Justin Shaw preps@gazette.com
April 9, 2014 Updated: April 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm
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photo - Small schools coach of the year: Tony Goodman, Peyton
Small schools coach of the year: Tony Goodman, Peyton 

If you ask Tony Goodman why the Peyton girls' basketball team has been so good the past few years, the coach will deflect the praise to his players. It's the kind of guy he is.

Goodman, who has been at Peyton for six seasons, has revived a program that was by most accounts left for dead.

In the two seasons before Goodman took over, the Panthers were 10-28. In the past four seasons, Peyton is 78-22 with two Class 2A state semifinals appearances.

"It feels pretty good to win this award, and it's a definite shock because it wasn't about me, it was about the team," Goodman said. "To be recognized with this is a pretty big honor and a neat accomplishment."

When Goodman arrived, this year's senior class was in seventh grade. He began a culture change almost immediately, building the program back up through hard practices and tough love.

"It's been incredible to play for him, and he was always there for us," Peyton senior Shelby Patterson said. "It was always positive criticism from him. I remember one time when I was a sophomore he asked me why I was practicing free throws because I never went to the basket and got fouled. From then on I played differently and more aggressive."

Goodman says once he instilled his system of play, the team ran with it and made his job much easier than most coaches have it.

"They learned my system early on, and every year their advancement was unbelievable," he said. "I had to be around all the time to begin with, but the last few years I didn't have to teach, I just had to coach. This year was easy as a coach because of the players we had."

Goodman says he'll not only be missing the depth he had this season when next year rolls around, but that it feels like he's losing family members with the seniors moving on.

"It's joyful tears because I don't get to coach them anymore, but they are going to make people happy where they're going," Goodman said. "I feel like I let them down because we didn't win a championship. I can't remember in all of my years of coaching having this much fun."

Patterson had nothing but praise for her mentor of the past six years.

"He prepared me for college because he always made us work hard and we took it to heart and always wanted to improve from practice to practice," she said. "He told us we were a great group and that he'll miss us very much. I speak for everyone when I say he was not only a coach, but a father figure."

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