by Jay Young
July 13, 2014
Goold Leads Red Dragons To Perfect Season
It was during the ride home from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track and field Championships in Middletown a year ago when Maple Grove boys track coach Dave Foley seriously floated the idea of leaving his post.
Sitting in the car alongside Foley was Lady Red Dragons coach Marcus Clark, and then Frewsburg athletic director Bob Goold.
“Jim has four kids and he said that he wanted to step down and take over the modified (team),” said Clark of the decision.
It was no coincidence that Goold happened to be riding in that car. After all, he was the ideal choice to fill the head coaching role for Maple Grove.
“Jim and I were both kind of winking at Bob and hoping that he would put in for the boys job,” said Clark.
Despite his history of working with Frewsburg, Goold has been an athletic fixture at Maple Grove for years, serving as an assistant basketball coach and trainer for countless teams.
If you have made it to any game, meet or match at Dutch Hollow road over the past 15 years, there is a good chance that you’ve seen Goold somewhere on the sidelines.
But even with his years of experience working with Red Dragon athletes and teams, Goold didn’t immediately fall into the position.
It took some convincing before Maple Grove was able to get their new coach locked down.
Clark said, “We pushed the athletic director a little bit to get Bob.”
That pushing turned out to be the right decision as the Maple Grove boys finished with a league title after going 6-0 in Division 3 and 10-0 overall. They also claimed a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association championship with 162 points.
They certainly had the talent necessary to succeed, but they also had the calming personality of their new coach to thank for the success.
“I think that (Bob) got the most out of the athletes that he had this year,” said Randolph boys coach Paul Steward.
It was thanks to a nail biting 71-70 win over the Cardinals that Maple Grove was able to finish with an unblemished record. In the end the meet came down to coaching and individual matchups.
“He was able to put (his athletes) in the right places at the right time,” Steward said of Goold. “I think that he put together a good game plan for our meet, Corey (Wefing) and Zach (Jackson) were two of the best distance runners in the county.”
The rivalry between Wefing and Jackson played out in full force on that day with hard-fought races between the two coming in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Foley had to be smiling for his former team and replacement coach on that day as Maple Grove had been riding a 12-year drought against the Cards heading into their final regular-season meet.
“He gets kids to do stuff that they don’t want to do, and that’s what coaching is in track,” said Clark. “There are a lot of kids who want to run their event and then go home, but to win a team title you have to get them to do something that they don’t want to do.”
While a lot of coaches have a habit of motivating their players with yelling and screaming, Goold’s approach is much more mild-mannered.
He has spent the last few decades of his life getting to know and understand high school athletes, their likes and dislikes. He is the kind of coach that you don’t mind breaking your back for.
Anytime that a Maple Grove runner needed some extra motivation to compete in another event or stay a little longer at practice, they often found one of their favorite candy bars or snacks thrown their way from their new coach.
“Kids respect him so much that they listen to him when he is the head coach,” said Clark. “They listen to him when he is just helping out. His demeanor is just very calming. There are a lot of schools that would be happy to have him.”
You could say the same for some of the area’s best athletes. Of all the fantastic runners, jumpers and throwers in the area, only Wefing was able to win an individual state championship when he ran a 1:54.60 in the Division 2 800.
While pre-race anxiety had been an issue for the senior in the past, playing baseball his senior year and spending time with his new coach were a welcome source of calm.
“That is a coaching spotlight to let one of your best athletes go and play another sport,” said Clark. “(Bob) said, ‘You know Corey, I think that you can handle both.’”
It would be easy to second-guess Goold’s decision if Wefing’s results at states had been different, but in the end he was beholden to his athletes.
Goold didn’t care about the criticism that would have come if Wefing had been hurt on the diamond, he only cared about getting the best out of his athletes. And that’s why he is The Post Journal Boys Track & Field Coach of the Year.