The King's College football program has had its problems in recent history but there may be one case that might take the most precedence to the entire program.
Defensive Coordinator Casey Goff has decided to leave the division III program after two long seasons leading the Monarch defense from the sidelines as announced via email to the team from Head Coach Jeff Knarr.
"He was willing to come here with me to rebuild King's to make us relevant to the MAC and did a great job," Coach Knarr said in the close quarters of his office right off of north River street in snowy Wilkes-Barre, PA. "With young guys on defense, he molded them into the pressure defense that we wanted. He did a great job with our strength program that got our kids bigger, faster and stronger so that they could compete in the MAC. He's been a huge part of the rebuilding process here."
Coach Goff is taking his skills to Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Salve Regina is a school similar to King's in population, religious affiliation and demographic, the only differences between the programs are the overall records.
When thinking of a collegiate options, King's College (unless attended by someone's immediate family) isn't necessarily every teenager's first choice out of high school. The quaint and old-fashioned Holy Cross College in Northeastern Pennsylvania doesn't house more than three thousand students. It isn't a national powerhouse in football. It certainly doesn't have the allure that big city would garner for players of higher caliber, but it does have its charm.
Besides from being the sister college of Notre Dame University, the college boasts some mighty academics. Its students are also consistently among the best in the country at performing community service, and are usually named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. As its accreditations pile up, the reasons for attending the college become clear, but not necessarily for football.
In their last 30 contests the Monarchs have only won four games and have sunk to the bottom of conference play due to their performances, but players still flock to the program nonetheless. A large number of players leave the program after a season due to the losing atmosphere but those who do stay, do so for a reason. Coach Casey Goff. The respect that athletes displayed for the Monarchs defensive coordinator goes beyond mere words.
"For me it means we are losing a great coach," replied freshman cornerback Tyler Cruz following the news about Coach Goff. "He really helped this team out, the way he ran this defense was extremely well, he helped everyone out and didn't single anyone out, he really wanted people to do well so he was really on [their case] so they could do their best."
As far as the legacy of Goff, defense is what he stood for as a coach. A native son of northeastern Pennsylvania, Goff attended Montrose high school and graduated in 1996. He attended and then coached at Susquehanna University to begin his coaching career.
Goff had stops at Susquehanna, Mansfield University, Rhodes College (Tenn.), Cortland State University, Washington & Jefferson College, and King's College before going to Salve Regina. Goff has been known for defense at almost every place he has coached.
At Cortland State, Goff, in two seasons as a defensive line coach, saw the club reach the 2005 NCAA Division III playoffs and coached a squad that ranked second in the nation in rush defense (40.9 ypg).
While at Rhodes for one lone season as the defensive line coach, the college ranked fifth in the nation in total defense (199.6 ypg) and led the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference with 32 total sacks.
Goff's major success came while on the staff at Washington & Jefferson for three seasons where the team finished 30-5 overall and 16-2 in conference play, winning a conference title in 2007 and qualifying for NCAA Division III national playoffs from 2007-2009.
Statistically, Goff helped in the progression of the defense. The Presidents of Washington & Jefferson were seventh in the NCAA Division III in pass efficiency defense (162.8) and 50th in total sacks per game (2.4) in part to the coaching of Goff.
During his career he's had a 42.8 percent of success out of all the programs he's coached at, nearly half have had superior defense, the only programs he couldn't help being Mansfield, King's and Susquehanna, the latter being the opening set of his career.
"I very much appreciate the time and energy that Casey dedicated to development of our football program," answered Cheryl Ish, the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation at King's College. "Casey has a passion for coaching and developing student athletes. I know he will carry his enthusiasm and love for the game to Salve Regina University. I certainly wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors."
Coach Goff had a presence on campus unlike many other coaches hiking through Lane's Lane or past Scandlon Gymnasium, he was cherished even by athletes that he didn't watch over.
Due to the large number of students that play for the Monarch football team, numerous stories, legends and tales of extreme fortitude became associated with the name Casey Goff. Whether it was a recap from the way practice was conducted to a weight lifting exercise, there was always a hefty amount of respect for the Monarch's defensive honcho.
In the last two seasons when someone was to think of Monarch football, there wouldn't be a way to not consider Coach Goff. He wasn't only the leader of the defense from the sidelines; he was a creator of men, a legend in the locker room and a motivator, a mock Ray Lewis statuette to a struggling team of dedicated student-athletes. When things got rough the players looked to Coach Goff.
With the absence of Goff from the program, the Monarchs need to find another cog to keep the wheels turning for the team. In what will be the fourth season for Coach Jeff Knarr, there needs to be a drastic change for a squad that has been coming up short in recent years.
"This is our defense," Coach Knarr responded. "The next defensive coordinator will come in and learn our defense. We will find a guy that hopefully has a background in 3-4 defense, but we're looking for a good overall coach and a good communicator and teacher and wants to work with kids, and if they're a good and learn what we do, they will continue the progress that Coach Goff made with our defense."