The Public League and Bogan High School lost an important figure in their community on Friday.
Bengals boys basketball coach Arthur Goodwin, who led the Bengals to a state runner-up finish in 2019, died Friday. He was 54.
Goodwin won nine regional championships, two sectional titles and a Public League championship in 2015. His 2018-19 team that lost in overtime to East St. Louis in the Class 3A state championship won a school record 30 games.
But the impact Goodwin, a 1985 graduate of South Shore, had on the players in his program was resounding. Goodwin was not only a program builder but a nurturer of players. The behind-the-scenes care he had for those players and relationships he built — and the importance of that — will be missed.
Jordan “Tiger” Booker was a star for Goodwin and the Bengals. The small point guard was a dynamic force for Goodwin and team leader of the 2018-19 team. More importantly, he embodied everything Goodwin pushed his players to be.
“He was way more than a coach to me and all of us,” said Booker. “We talked about everything but basketball. The relationship and friendship went way beyond basketball. At Bogan, it’s a real family, and it’s because we had a coach like him.”
Booker reminisced about how he and his teammates would show up at Goodwin’s house at all hours of the day and night. The coach would open his door and the fun would begin.
“We would eat all his food in the kitchen and hook up our video games to his TV,” said Booker. “We would spend hours and hours in that house laughing.”
An emotional Booker, who played this past season at Odessa Junior College in Texas, said he talked to Goodwin nearly every day since he left high school.
“That’s going to be the hardest part,” said Booker, fighting back tears. “Not being able to do that …”
Bogan was known more for how they played than who played for them. Over the years there was consistently more heart, hustle and toughness than Division I talent in the program. Yet the Bengals have gone 258-81 over the past 12 years.
“It’s a big, big loss for so many people,” said Simeon coach Robert Smith, who has battled Goodwin and Bogan in the Red-South for many years. “He’s a great guy, a good friend and a coach who has done so much for kids in Chicago. This is tough.”
Bogan basketball was built by Goodwin. The program was virtually non-existent prior to the arrival of “Goodie,” the name everyone called the fun, easy-to-like and quotable coach. The Bengals arrived as a powerhouse over the past decade.
“Goodie took players and teams to another level,” said Smith. “He won all those games and had all that success and did so without big-named players. He got them to play hard, compete and play together.”
And no one wanted to go into Bogan and play a Goodie-coached team. With the combination of how Goodwin’s teams played and the cramped quarters of the Bogan gym, there was always extra emotion in any Bengals home game.
Veteran assistant coach Mark Lester has been on the Bogan bench with Goodwin for the past 11 years. Like Booker, Lester is going to miss the day-to-day conversations he had with Goodwin.
“For me personally, it’s like losing a brother,” said a choked up Lester. “We talked every single day for 11 or 12 years. That’s what is going to hurt –– the talks and discussions about life, basketball, everything.”
But Lester made a point of just how much Goodwin meant to Bogan and the important role he had in the building. Lester said Goodwin made an impact on all Bogan students.
“It wasn’t just the basketball players he cared about,” said Lester. “He was in that school every day, engaged with students, teachers and staff. When there was a problem, people would go to him. He knew how to lead, move things along.”
Lester watched and learned along the way as an assistant under Goodwin. He saw the relationships he built with his players and the impact they had. Lester says Goodwin was always able to deliver a message that kids could relate to, and it was because he knew them so well.
“He had an uncanny ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every kid, and he treated them each individually,” said Lester of Goodwin’s approach to his players. “He wanted to know everything about a kid. Everything. He wanted to know even after the players left his program. He wanted to keep up with where all of them were in their life. He never let any relationship go.”
Arthur Goodwin at Bogan