Coach Goodwin was a 'throw-back'. Clad often in overalls, a flannel shirt, and the ever-present "SK" ball cap, he was small in stature but with a larger than life persona. He was a man born with intensity and passion in his veins; and a man who did not know the meaning of the words "quit" or "can't".
"He just doesn't know what 'give up' means. He's the most persistent human being I've ever met."
- Wayne Gibson (friend)
It was these, along with other 'life-lessons' that were instilled in his players and students from the moment you stepped into his classroom, or onto his baseball diamond. They weren't just words; they were a way of life. Sometimes misunderstood as over-bearing, and often "grouchy", Elton held all those around him to the highest of standards, and pushed them to be the best men and women they could be...whether on the field, in the classroom, or in life.
"He doesn't let you play bad; he doesn't let you get away with it even if his team isn't as good as others. He teaches you a little bit of everything about life. He's the best coach I've ever had...by far."
-Dan Knox (former player)
It was 1974 when the recent CWU graduate was handed the reins of a mediocre baseball program from his small (and then unknown) hometown of Port Orchard, WA. What happened in the following 30 years is the stuff of legend; the type of stuff Hollywood writes sports movies about. Preaching hard work, accountability, and "repetition, repetition, repetition", Elton soon had the Wolves riding high as a national powerhouse year in, and year out. Opposing coaches feared him, and parents of his players revered him.
"All it is is hard work; that's it. That's why we win every year."
-"Coach" Elton Goodwin
Tirelessly motivated by perfection, Elton was not satisfied to simply watch his varsity squad take home title after title each year. Equal attention was given not just to star players, but to junior varsity (JV) underclassmen, and Little Leaguers as young as 10. These boys may not have played for him yet, but he knew someday soon they would be his to mold into champions. A consummate student of the game, Elton seized any possible opportunity to hone, and pass on his craft. He both attended, and taught baseball camps nearly every year; never tiring in his love of teaching the game.
"The first time I met Coach Goodwin was in 1980 when I was a member of the South Kitsap Western Little League All Star team. I was 12 years old when Coach came out to one of our practices. Every member of our team was in awe that Elton Goodwin was out at our Little League practice coaching us up. We couldn't wait to get to high school and play for the great Elton Goodwin."
-Jeffrey Fields #8 ('85 - All Narrows 3rd base)
Elton Changed Lives