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As He Approaches Milestone, Goffredo Reflects on Career : Prep basketball: Crescenta Valley High basketball coach loves the profession but he is tempted to resign if he notches 200th victory.

January 24, 1991|GARY KLEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

John Goffredo runs four miles a day, plays basketball once a week and makes it a practice to do everything he can to reduce the stress that comes with coaching the Crescenta Valley High basketball team.

Goffredo, however, freely admits he is fighting a losing battle.

Goffredo does not sleep well when the Falcons lose. He does not sleep well when the Falcons win.

"I'm too emotional about the whole thing," Goffredo said. "I wish I could divorce myself from it a little bit and realize, 'Hey, you've been successful, why don't you just relax a little bit?'

"But I think when I do that, I won't be giving the kids what they deserve."

Since 1979, when he became varsity coach after a seven-year apprenticeship at the sophomore and junior varsity levels, Goffredo, 39, has provided the Falcons with one of the most stable programs in Southern California.

Goffredo and predecessor Ed Goorgian, who left to take over the program at Loyola Marymount University in 1979-80, are the only two varsity basketball coaches Crescenta Valley has had since the school opened in 1962.

In their 28-year existence, the Falcons have had only one losing season. The program has produced 28 All-Southern Section players and five high school All-Americans, including Gordon Tope, Bill Boyd, Brad Holland, Greg Goorgian and Harvey Mason.

Goffredo's teams have never won a league championship, but the Falcons have been to the playoffs in 10 of his 12 seasons as coach.

Entering this week, Goffredo was three wins shy of recording his 200th victory as a varsity coach. Goffredo, whose record is 197-116, reflected on his career as he approached the milestone.

"The things we do every year don't change very much," Goffredo said. "It doesn't matter if you're a large school or a small school, you're successful if you get the kids to do what you want them to."

Getting players to respond has never been a problem for Goffredo, who played three years of varsity basketball at Burroughs High then took over the school's freshman team the year after he graduated.

"I loved playing basketball," said Goffredo, who attended Cal State Northridge, "but I was intelligent enough to know that I wasn't going to be a college player."

Goffredo coached the Burroughs freshmen for one season before moving to Crescenta Valley.

With John Wooden, Vince Lombardi and Ed Goorgian as role models, Goffredo molded teams that quickly gained a reputation for their preparedness and discipline.

"I don't know if this is a positive or negative, but I'm very intense," Goffredo said. "I give a lot of intensity to my practices and games and expect that out of my kids.

"I don't think I'm real intelligent and I don't have a lot of great offenses and defenses, but the kids play hard."

As the dean of Glendale-area coaches, Goffredo has seen many changes in high school sports during his tenure at Crescenta Valley.

The school itself has shrunk from a three-year institution with an enrollment of 2,400 to a four-year school with 1,600 students. And while the number of students has decreased, their personal problems have multiplied.

"I think it might have been easier to grow up 20 years ago," Goffredo said. "The kids today have different problems, maybe because there are more split homes than when I started.

"I've become more of a father figure and psychologist, but I enjoy the kids now as much as I ever have."

Goffredo, however, is not as comfortable with the emphasis some coaches place on winning and the lengths they go to achieve that end.

"Some (coaches) start looking at kids when they are six and seven years old and start recruiting them to their schools--that's a sorry state of affairs," Goffredo said. "For me (coaching) is about teaching kids a lot more than just playing basketball. It's manners, how to carry yourself, how to have class and be disciplined.

"The values I try to teach are more life responsibility things that they can carry on to their jobs."

Goffredo, who has been married for 17 years and has three children, is not sure how much longer he will continue coaching.

The original plan, he said, was to coach for six or seven years. Thirteen years later, the responsibility has begun to wear.

"It's become a year-to-year thing," he said. "I've come real close to making it the last."

Goffredo's fate will probably be determined by the outcome of this season.

With six regular season games remaining, it seems likely--but is not necessarily a lock--that the Falcons (7-9 overall, 1-3 in the Pacific League) will get Goffredo to the the 200-victory mark this season.

If Crescenta Valley falls short, Goffredo almost assuredly will be back to reach the plateau next season.

Then again, if the Falcons finish strong, as is their custom under Goffredo, he will probably be inspired to re-up for another campaign.

"It would be tough to walk away because the thing I hold the most dear is the friendships I've gained working with kids," Goffredo said. "The most exciting thing for me is the (team) banquet every year.

"Knowing that kids appreciate the things you do, well, that's one of things that makes coaching special."

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