It was a long time coming for David Goodwell to take over his own program. That wait ended this week with Goodwell being named the new girls basketball coach at Churubusco High School, concluding a near two-decade long stint as an assistant at South Side.
“It is a small community where I think I will do a pretty good job of developing talent,” Goodwell said of Churubusco’s draw. “They work very hard.”
Goodwell will also work in the building at Churubusco as an instructional assistant, doing a variety of jobs all over the school. He spent the last 11 seasons on the coaching staff of wife Juanita Goodwell at South Side. That program went 185-85 over that time with four Sectional titles and consistently being one of the top teams in the Summit Athletic Conference.
During David Goodwell’s time at South Side, girls basketball made a major resurgence in the area. Goodwell has been a big part of that process, originally part of the staff at Always 100 and now working with TruFit during his basketball training career.
A drawback, perhaps, of life coaching in the city of Fort Wayne was the unknowns of where talent would end up for high school, even if they were part of a feeder elementary or middle school. That dynamic should change for Goodwell now that he is with the Eagles, allowing his training mentality to kick in while working even with the younger kids in the community.
“The feeder system [at Churubusco] was one of the bigger things where I can develop my own kids and keep them, versus, inner city Fort Wayne where they can go wherever they want to go,” Goodwell said.
For Goodwell, moving on from South Side won’t just be a change in familiarity and dynamic, but he will also now be coaching without wife Juanita, who remains the head girls basketball coach with the Archers.
“She fully supports this. She knows this is what I always wanted to do,” David Goodwell said. “This is a good opportunity for me.”
But no, there won’t be any battles between them yet. Goodwell shoots down a meeting between the Eagles and the Archers in the near future. He says one of the biggest factors in a decision to take on his own program was not creating an environment where the two were against each other. Because of that, he was looking strictly at openings that were not on the Class 4A level, where South Side plays.
Churubusco’s history isn’t extensive on the girls basketball side. The program has never won a Sectional title with their last winning season coming in 2014-15 when they went 14-10; also their last season with double digit wins. Churubusco’s girls have only had a winning record twice in the past 20 seasons. Goodwell will be the fourth head coach over five seasons for the program. Previous head coach Kellene Pepple left after just one season at the helm, going 6-16 after a 3-0 start to the 2019-20 season.
In looking how to build at Churubusco up, Goodwell can see how Chris Paul has built the boys basketball program with that program’s only two Sectional titles ever coming in the past 5 years.
“He was the first one to call,” Goodwell said of Paul. “He told me ‘you come in, you be patient, you put the work in and you will get rewarded.’ I was impressed with [my team] today. They work hard, it’s togetherness; they supported each other when things were tough.”
Goodwell hopes to reverse the fortune at Churubusco by running basically the same style that he did with South Side and that he has also used with coaching sixth and seventh graders on the AAU circuit. He says that he plans for the Eagles to get up and down the floor quickly and play that same style despite playing a different type of competition with a pretty solid NECC. Goodwell is confident that once the girls buy in to his style and approach, the Eagles will flourish, especially with his knowledge base of NECC players that many people may not think of.
During his time as a coach and trainer, Goodwell has worked with the likes of Hanna Knoll (Angola), Lauren Leach (Angola), Bridgette Gray (Central Noble), Madi Vice (Central Noble), Lilly Mast (West Noble) and Sullivan Kessler (Eastside).
“I had a talk with the girls before we worked out [Tuesday] and I said our goal is to win a conference and a Sectional championship. Everybody we play against in our conference, I’ve trained players on that team. A lot of them, I already know. It does give me a small advantage but at the end of the day, my girls have to get it done when we get on the floor,” Goodwell said.
The Eagles will return the majority of their varsity lineup from last season, including 5 of their top 6 scorers. Leading scorer Mariah Hosted (11 ppg), also led the lead with 9.1 rebounds per game and two steals per games; she will return as Churubusco’s top player for her senior season.