MCHS welcomes Goodwin as 2020 volleyball coach

Staff Written Sports

By R. Alan Richardson

Sports Editor

Morgan County High School would like to
welcome Coach Kathleen Goodwin to the staff as the 2020 volleyball coach.  She will be replacing Coach
Olivia Daniell who stepped down after the 2019 campaign after two seasons at the helm of the program.

Goodwin has ties to the Morgan County area as her parents, Mr. Steve and Mrs. Donna Dailey, grew up in Bostwick.  She is a 2008 graduate of Oconee County High School where she attended K-12 and starred in three sports: volleyball, tennis, and cross-country. The 30 year-old says she focused mainly on tennis during her junior and senior seasons, but continued to pursue her love for volleyball through club ball.  She was, in her words, ”hyper involved” in sports and activities.  Goodwin was an officer in the National Honor Society, Student Council, and was an aspiring singer and songwriter playing guitar and singing at local venues in the Athens area.  She laughingly said she was voted Most-Likely-To-Be-Famous by her senior peers.  The English teacher says she loves to read and never met a book she didn’t like.  “I read anything in front of me,” she told us.

After graduation from OCHS, Goodwin attended the University of Georgia and received a double major in English and women’s studies along with creative writing.  She said, “I was a pre-law student the entire time and wanted to be a lawyer, but I took a year off to do some soul searching.  After working at the Oconee County Recreation Department during that time I decided to coach some volleyball. That’s when I decided that I didn’t want to be a lawyer, but a teacher and coach.”

The aspiring teacher then attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she received her Master’s of English in Secondary Education.  It was at UGA that she graduated cum laude and at CU as summa cum laude.  “I have always been academically minded,” she noted.

Goodwin married Zach Goodwin in 2016 in Madison while he was finishing up his grad studies at the University of Montana in Environmental Studies.  The couple met while both were working for the Recreation Department in Oconee County.  They decided to take a year off to travel.  “We loved it out West with all the big mountains and backpacking opportunities.  We’ve estimated that we spent about four and a half months after our marriage going to 17 National Parks and trekking over 400 miles that summer while living out of the car and camping out every night.  We also traveled to India and Nepal that year,” Goodwin commented.  Now that she has procured a job with the Morgan County Board of Education, the couple plan on moving back to Bostwick where her husband will become a homesteader and pursue his love of photography.

After their travels, Goodwin went to work as an English teacher and volleyball coach at two different high schools near Missoula, Montana.  She taught and coached for the past three seasons at Big Sky High School and Sentinel High School where she coached the Freshman A team which was one of their five squads going 18-3 and 21-0 in 2019.  She also furthered her abilities as a volleyball coach while coaching club ball at Zootown in Missoula.

So, what brought her back to the Northeast Georgia area and then to MCHS?  “We loved it out West!  It was a hard decision in many ways, but we had spent eight years away from so many friends and a place we call home.  It was a people move for us.  We have new nieces and nephews being born and had always dreamed of living a really sustainable homegrown lifestyle with our own garden, chickens, and food.  We’ve always had this thing about doing it and almost moved back here three times previously.  This time just seemed like the right time.  While we were in Belize we realized we wanted to come home, but leaving a place you love is hard too.  I started looking for jobs with Morgan County as my first choice.”  As a famous actor once quipped, “There’s no place like home.”

Goodwin thought she might have to wait a while before getting a job in their home county, but the stars seemed to be aligned for her.  “The first place I looked was Morgan and to my surprise there was an English job available.  During my interview I told them I wanted to coach volleyball.  It just so happened that they were also needing a head volleyball coach.  What were the odds of that?  It felt like everything just fell into place.  I’ve always taught in larger places but wanted to find a smaller atmosphere like Madison that has a strong sense of community. It seems like a great place to work.  I’ve never had the opportunity to teach and coach in a small community with one high school.  I also like the high rigor and academic standards for the students and teachers here.” she observed.

The volleyball program at MCHS is in good stead with coaches like Pam “PT” Hooten, Greg Thompson, and Daniell handling the duties before Goodwin.
A strong group of seniors
return off teams from the past two seasons.  Goodwin will get to meet her new team in person this Friday when she has her first workout with the girls.

Goodwin was asked about those possibilities.  She told us, “I’ve looked at some past performances in the areas and state and chatted some with Olivia (Daniell).  It’s been good to watch virtually from a distance and get a limited knowledge of the team.  It seems really strong from the top down with the past five-ten years as a state contender.  It shows a lot of dedication from all involved and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.  I want to help grow volleyball in the county as a whole and I like the idea of being the sport that girls want to be a part of and play.  It’s a great sport for anyone, but especially girls.”

Jamie Williams will coach the JV squad whle Paige Hilsman has joined the staff as the varsity assistant as a community coach.  Alan Shultz will again lead the Morgan County Middle School team into action.

The new head coach wanted to say, “I have the most supportive parents.  They signed me up for every sport I ever wanted to do and were especially important in my life.  My husband is great.  Being a coach takes you away for long hours and missing meals and time together. He’s been very supportive. I would also be remiss to not thank the coaches I’ve worked with in Montana at Sentinel and Zootown.  They taught me so much about the game.  I hope to bring those skills back to Georgia.”

“We all like to win, but
I also want it to be a welcoming environment to all and set the tone as coaches and players of acceptance and positivity. Volleyball is the ultimate team sport.  You learn a lot of life
lessons from being on a team that develop camaraderie.  I’m very hopeful that we will have a successful season with such a talented group of seniors. The
season should be interesting for sure.” 

Interesting indeed. Welcome aboard to our newest Bulldog Coach Kathleen Goodwin.

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