GRANTS PASS—Grants Pass cross country coach Stan Goodell was named a National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations on Wednesday.
He was one of two winners from the state of Oregon and one of 22 total winners from across all high school sports throughout the rest of the country.
"I have the opportunity to make a change in someone's life and so that's the kind of stuff I appreciated seeing on the application itself. That they actually took time to read it and said, ‘Hey here's somebody that looks like what could be a good candidate,’ it’s so overwhelming," Goodell said.
Goodell received word he was being nominated back in October, but admitted the paperwork was so thorough and daunting, he almost didn’t follow through with submitting it.
After he did, he beat out all other Oregon girls cross country coaches, and then all girls cross country coaches from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. On Wednesday, he was named tops in the nation.
"To be honored for the national (award), for the committee to look at somebody in my position with the low profile sport that we have in cross country, it's quite an honor," he said.
It’s an award not so much for the success of his team and his runners during the 2017-2018 school year, but for his ability to make an impact on the lives of his athletes.
"It's got nothing to do with the 17-18 girls cross country team, even though that's what the award is,” athletic director Clay Rounsaville said. “It's an award that's been long overdue for Stan for everything he's always done. That award has given Stan a pat on the back for the shoes that he bought the kid that couldn't afford shoes that nobody every notices or the kids he picks up to take them to practice that nobody ever notices or knows about."
The National Coaches Association Awards have only been around since 2011, so Goodell is the first in Grants Pass High history to receive the honor.
He's a well-known name in the southern Oregon running world, and Rounsaville said that it isn't just an honor for Grants Pass, but also Rogue River, New Hope, Hidden Valley and every other local program Goodell has touched.
"You can't mention the word cross country in the state of Oregon without his name coming up," Rounsaville said. "When you get to that level, when you put those years in, you put the time in and you've done what he's done, your name is up there and people are familliar with it."
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