Among the cheering fans in Moody Coliseum, two screaming brunettes clap vivaciously as Coach Julie Goodenough calls for a timeout. The women’s basketball team huddles in a circular formation of purple and white with Goodenough kneeling in the middle of it. Quietly the team listens for the next play, the next winning shot. With fans stand to stretch, waiting for the clock to start ticking, Bailey and Macy Goodenough watch as the players place their hands into the circle for the final ‘Go Wildcats’ sendoff.
Yelling ‘Let’s go, ladies’ as the team assembles into their position on the court, Bailey and Macy take a deep breath and give their mom a thumbs-up. While neither daughter plays for the team, not a game goes by where the Goodenough sisters are not actively cheering for their mom and team.
“I like watching her,” Macy said as she smiles. “She’s just like really cool and I like to see how my friends think of her. At home, she’s like our mom, but on the court, she’s like this superstar and I like that aspect of team that she implements. Not only are they teammates, but they’re also sisters and I think that’s cool.”
Even as children, the Goodenough sisters explain how their mom placed them in sports and taught them how to appreciate teamwork and dedication to the things you love.
“I remember going to her basketball camps in the summer,” said Bailey, senior social studies education major from Abilene. “We would go to her camp as young as you could go like four years old.”
“Yeah, like even before we could participate in the camp, we were there anyways,” said Macy, sophomore english major from Abilene. “Like, we would be shooting on the side – or at least, trying to – and try to be like the older girls. Our mom even coached when she was pregnant and so we’ve literally been with her our entire lives playing basketball.”
After learning the game and watching Coach Goodenough year after year, the girls learned to love the sport that inspired their mom. From traveling across states to helping along with any office or assistant work, the sisters have witnessed some of the greatest achievements of the team. Winning the Southland Conference championship last season, the women’s basketball team has become a shining beacon of hope, perseverance and love for the Goodenough family.
“Growing up, we were always around the team and they became our big sisters,” Bailey said, “and just now it has kind of become a habit to always be with the team and my mom. It never feels like an obligation or like, “oh, I’m with my mom.” It’s just because we’ve done it so much it feels normal. [Coach Goodenough] has just made it so fun to see her at practice, so I don’t mind watching her coach practice or sitting at a game and watch her and the team play like four times.”
Although the girls watch their mom both at home and at work, Macy said there are different levels of intensity brought out depending on the time of day.
“At work she gets really intense because she’s in the game and wants to win,” Macy said. “But at home she’s just like goofy and fun.”
“I remember one time when it was the first three-pointer of the season, she freaked out and started acting like she was bowling a bowling ball and the whole team acted like they were the pins and all fell down,” Bailey laughs. “Like I work for her in the office and she is pretty much the same on the court as she is at home – all around a cool person.”
Only living in the Abilene area for the past six years, the girls have seen how far their mom has come. After being fired for her lack of wins at Oklahoma State, the sisters can see how strong, hard-working and exceptional their mom is – just how they hope to be some day.
“Beating Oklahoma State was the best day ever,” Bailey said nostalgically. “She’s kind of always joked around about hating Oklahoma State and hating orange.”
“She hates orange. Like, she has no orange in her closet at all,” Macy said with a laugh.
“And last year, we got to go to Oklahoma State for the game and kicked major butt,” Bailey said.
“We didn’t just kick butt, we like destroyed them and we were like ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to beat Oklahoma State. This is really happening’ and so that was a pretty great day for our mom,” Macy said. “She was really happy.”
In the midst of joking around and tagging along, the Goodenough family doesn’t stop the sports talk once they leave the court. Watching, playing and coaching basketball has become a fundamental component of the Goodenough family.
“We’re not like crazy, but sports are always in the background or something,” Bailey said. “And both of my parents like listening to sports on like Sirius XM and they talk about it together and it’s cool.”
“Our dad told us one day that he never watched women’s basketball and it wasn’t until he met our mom that he started watching it,” Macy said, “and now, he actually prefers it [over] men’s. Sports is a big deal in our family but that’s just normal for us.”
With hopes to teach and coach on the side, Bailey explains how she would like to follow in the footsteps of both her parents.
“My mom is a coach and my dad is a principal and so I want to do both of those things whenever and wherever I start teaching,” Bailey said. “I would never want to coach college anything, though. That’s just too much pressure and not what I want to do in my life, but I do want to coach basketball like in middle school or high school.”
“My dad was an english major and I’m an english major, so I’m doing what my dad’s doing,” Macy said laughing. “We really don’t branch out in the Goodenough household. We think our parents are just great.”
When seen at the games, the Goodenough sisters can sense when and how their mom is feeling. From the way she pulls her hair up to the manner in which she talks to her players, the Goodenough sisters don’t see their cool mom on the court. Rather, they see a woman with limitless potential, roaring courage and kindheartedness take the team by storm.
“The biggest thing I take away from my mom is her infectious, positive attitude,” said Macy. “She has a bunch of sayings that she tells us like ‘You can only control the controllables’ and she never lets us or her players or assistant coaches be disappointed in themselves. She is always saying ‘Okay, this happened. We need to fix it and we need to move on’ and so, just how she always is looking on the bright side of things and to the best of her ability.”
“In the education department we have to come up with a philosophy we want our classroom to have and so mine is to be a family and that’s something she has really shown m,” Bailey said. She not only coaches a team, but she also treats them like family and really brings them together and makes sure they respect and love each other. She has really shown all of those things and I want that to be within my students too.”
The last buzzer sounds and the last shot has been taken. The team rallies up for a pep talk with Coach Goodenough as the motivator. Watching her from afar, the sisters watch intently, pack up their belongings and cheer for their mom as the team walks off the court.