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Alumnus Keeps Order in Halls, on Court : Coach Is Point Guard in Schoolyard

December 25, 1986|PAUL MCLEOD | Times Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — Only the walkie-talkie held firmly in his right hand distinguished Terry Goddard from the lunchtime crowd.

Wearing red Nike nylon sweat pants, shoes to match and a gray, silk-screened T-shirt, the Artesia High School campus supervisor projected a low profile in the teen-age crowd near senior square.

Goddard, 26, is the girls basketball coach here, but he is better known to students in street vernacular as a narc. His full-time job is to secure the grounds of a campus that is struggling to shed its image as a gang school.

Goddard, now in his third year, says his responsibilities are a way to give back to the school what the school gave to him.

Combing the Streets

As a boy, Goddard combed the streets of Hawaiian Gardens, a basketball almost always under his arm. He became an all-star guard at Artesia High and was selected to the All-Southern Section 2-A Division team in his senior year. Later he played on the 1980 state championship team at Cypress College and then led the nation in free-throw percentage shooting for most of his junior year at Idaho State.

His basketball career ended rather dismally in his senior year at Idaho when he was benched at midyear after a disagreement with the coaching staff. In the summer of 1982 he returned to Southern California and enrolled at California State University, Long Beach. Today he's still 15 units short of his bachelor's degree.

Goddard has always held a place in his heart for Artesia High. It was here that he and his wife, Theresa, met as sophomores. "She was my childhood sweetheart," he said.

He joined a group of former Pioneer players that meet Sunday mornings for pickup games in the school's gymnasium. One day he was approached by Norm Flowers, the girls basketball coach, who asked Goddard if he would be interested in volunteering as a girls team assistant. Goddard accepted. Artesia went on to win the Southern Section 2-A Division title.

'Good Instincts'

When Flowers stepped down in 1984 to concentrate on his job as boys athletic director, Goddard replaced him.

"Terry has good instincts for picking up what a team can do to exploit an opponent's weaknesses," Flowers said. "A lot of coaches know the Xs and Os, but don't know how to use them. Terry does."

Flowers also identified with Goddard.

Being from here "is the reason I wanted him" as a coach, Flowers said. "I can appreciate what he's done. I'm an Artesia grad myself. I like the fact that he wants to give something back to his alma mater. I can relate to that."

Goddard was 36-12 in his two years as girls coach. Both times he guided the Fast Ladies into the Southern Section 2-A playoffs. Last year the team went all the way to the semifinals before losing to Lompoc by six points. Artesia has not missed a Southern Section playoff since 1979.

Biggest Challenge

But this season poses Goddard's biggest challenge. The team is young. Before the year began, Artesia lost a pair of senior starters when both moved out of the district. Senior guard Michelle Goins is the only returning player. Artesia starts two freshmen, two sophomores and Goins.

Goddard still hopes to build a reputation as a well-rounded coach. Besides the girls basketball team he has also coached the junior varsity baseball and football teams and spent this past season as a varsity football assistant. He was offered a job this season as the boys junior varsity basketball coach, but, citing his commitment to the varsity girls team, he declined the offer. He wants to coach varsity boys basketball, and that coaching job may become available in the next few years.

Flowers said Goddard could succeed at any level.

"He's a good coach in any sport because he analyzes everything," Flowers said.

All of the coaching positions Goddard has held are part-time or "walk-on" jobs. They afford him an opportunity to hold a full-time job, while working toward a second career in athletics. The fact that the two occur at the same place is so much the better in his mind.

"I would not feel real comfortable (doing this) at another school," he said.

Goddard landed the security position just before becoming the girls basketball coach. The positions seem to go hand in hand.

"Being a coach really helps Terry," Vice Principal Leonard Rivera said. "It allows the kids to see a different side of him, and that's an extra positive (for a supervisor)."

Goddard was well-known in Hawaiian Gardens, the youngest and smallest of five boys. His father, a retired Long Beach bus driver, was one of the first homeowners in the mile-square city when he moved his family west from Nebraska 35 years ago.

The city was "all dirt back then," Goddard said, but it grew rapidly. As the houses sprung up, the ethnic population changed, and by the early 1960s Hawaiian Gardens had become a barrio.

As an Anglo in a predominantly Latino community, Goddard found himself an outcast.

"I was a loner type," he said.

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