John Good provided for his family before starting school, and years working at Coca-Cola helped make becoming a high school head basketball coach all the sweeter.
Good was formally announced as Crockett’s new head coach on Thursday. Athletic director Josh Kite had a flat tire en route, but David Crockett principal Andy Hare and company were clearly pumped up about the addition of Good.
So was Good, who went to Washington County schools (Cherokee, Lamar) through the sixth grade and has experienced a “full circle” feeling of sorts with recent drives to Crockett.
“(Today) is what you envision, and you hope it’s gonna come soon, but at the same time you don’t think it’s ever gonna come,” Good said. “And then, boom, it hits you. I may not look like it, but I’m excited.”
Good, a 1986 Science Hill graduate, has spent 12 of his 13 years in coaching as an assistant at Science Hill under Mike Poe and Ken Cutlip. He worked one year at King University for George Pitts. Good played for Pitts during his first season at Science Hill (1984-85).
Good, 44, spent his first seven seasons coaching while working at Coke and going to school.
“I mean, he worked at Coke and he was still in school and he was coaching,” said Good’s daughter Johneshia, a former Johnson City Press Northeast Tennessee Player of the Year. “I’ve seen him work so hard.”
She said Good returned to Science Hill from King so he could watch her play.
“He’s just sacrificed so much and it feels good to see him finally get to do something that he loves,” Johneshia said. “I just feel like when you walk in the will of the Lord blessings start coming down from Heaven, and that’s what’s happening. I am proud of him.”
Good prayed about the opportunity at Crockett, but also wanted his youngest son Patrick’s blessing. Patrick is arguably the best returning guard in the area, and he has three years of eligibility remaining. John said he wouldn’t have gone to Crockett — or anywhere else — without Patrick’s desire to leave Science Hill and follow.
“Obviously, if he’d been like, ‘No, I want to stay with my friends,” I would’ve stayed,” John said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to coach somewhere and never got to see him play. After I proposed it to him — and I didn’t necessarily say what school — I said, ‘There might be a school around here that … may be interested in me and I may be interested in them. What do you think?’ And he was like, ‘I want you to be a head coach.’”
John said the family prayed at night for everyone to be in agreement should opportunity knock.
“And then one night Patrick was like, ‘We’ve prayed about this. Let’s pray that they offer you the job,’” John said with a chuckle. “And from then on our prayer was that they’d offer the job, because we knew that we were gonna take it.”
Patrick and his older brother C.J., another former Northeast Tennessee Player of the Year who will sign with Pitts’ King University on Wednesday, were in the Crockett gym Thursday.
Another couple of former Science Hill faces were also on hand — Dobyns-Bennett head coach Charlie Morgan and Happy Valley assistant coach Randy Ferrell, who were Hilltoppers assistants for decades. Morgan was Science Hill’s junior-varsity coach when Good played for him.
“I’ve always kept up with John and I’ve always enjoyed his work ethic,” Morgan said. “He works at it hard. He’s very deserving, because he’s put in his time and I know he’s excited about it.
“I would’ve liked to have had him at D-B. There aren’t many any more that are willing to put in the kind of time that John does.”
Morgan is impressed with how well Good scouted Science Hill’s opponents.
“John’s into that big time … knowing other kids’ tendencies,” Morgan said. “He knew which way our kids go, left or right, and this kind of thing. That makes it hard, because now your kids have to get out there and play through some of their weaknesses. John will have his kids ready to play, and of course, having his son …”
Morgan trailed off with a chuckle that seemed to underscore his impression of Patrick’s potential.
You can’t help but wonder if Ferrell will join Good’s staff, although Ferrell wouldn’t offer anything to bolster speculation.
“John’s a dandy, he’s an absolute dandy,” said Ferrell, an assistant on Pitts’ three state championship teams (1990, ’94 and ’95). “He’s wanted a head job and this is opportunity for him. John is so level headed and so good with kids.
“I talked to him about another job or two a couple of years back. He loves basketball and he loves kids. I’ve always thought John would be a great head coach.”
Good is eager to get started. He mentioned Tyler Page, Noah Leonard and Dustin Day and several players who should provide good senior leadership for the Pioneers.
“I think if the kids buy in — that’s what it’s gonna take, the kids buying in to the philosophy — there’s an opportunity for success,” Good said. “The commitment has to be there from both me and the players. I think they’ve always had some talented kids.”
Some of Crockett’s most celebrated players have lived in Johnson City, players such as Curly Hill, Herbie Pirtle, Anthony “Blue” Warren and Randy Bowman.
Many believe more will head in that direction now. But Good knows he has only taken his son.
“There were some people that said, ‘He’s a Science Hill kid. What are you doing?’ No, he’s my kid that goes to Science Hill. He’s not a piece of equipment,” Good said. “But most people understand we’re a family, and this is a family decision.”
Good is eager for a week of spring practice, which begins May 6. He said one of the Pioneers summer camps will be at the University of Tennessee.
“You get to see your thoughts and your philosophy, and if it works and everything,” Good said. “I can’t wait to get started.”