After two historic seasons, two conference championship trophies and two first-ever NCAA tournament appearances, head coaches Joe Golding and Julie Goodenough have been awarded for their accomplishments.
Both coaches have agreed to five-year contract extensions to remain with the Wildcats through the 2023-24 season.
Julie Goodenough, the women’s basketball head coach, is 144-68 in seven seasons at ACU and 433-288 overall in a career that has spanned 25 seasons.
This season, the women finished 23-10 and fourth in the conference at the end of the regular season. But after upsetting top-seeded Lamar in the Southland tournament, the Wildcats capped off a historic season taking down Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the conference tournament championship.
That sent Goodenough and the Wildcats down to Waco to face the Baylor Lady Bears. Ultimately falling in that matchup, 95-38, ACU still finished far above expectations.
“I’m so proud of our team,” Goodenough said. “People don’t remember back in the fall, we were picked sixth in the Southland Conference, and we won the conference championship and played in the NCAA Tournament. I can’t say enough about our team and our program. This is our sixth year to play Division I and we have won three conference championships, so we believe we’re headed in the right direction.”
The Wildcats will lose only one player on their roster for next season setting them up for yet another run at the NCAA tournament.
Meanwhile, head coach Joe Golding for the men’s basketball team had an impressive season as well. He led the Wildcats to their best season in the 98 years of program history. Golding won the Southland conference postseason title giving ACU automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
The 2019 Southland Conference coach of the year finished the 2019 season 27-7 after falling to the number two seed Kentucky Wildcats 79-44 in Jacksonville.
Golding took the coaching job back in 2011 when ACU was still a Div. II program. But in just two years of postseason eligibility after transferring to Div. 1 basketball, he’s put Abilene Christian on the map.
“When you get an extension like this, it’s a direct correlation of having really good players and a great staff,” said Golding. “This staff has been together for a while (led by associate head coach Brette Tanner in his seventh season) and I believe it’s the best staff in our league. I’m proud they are being rewarded as well. This program has never been about me and never will be about me. It’s about the players who have left a legacy and the current players who will continue that legacy and the culture we have built.”
The men’s team lost three key senior starters after this season’s doors closed, but there is much to look forward to for Wildcat basketball.
The Wildcats have already added a standout player Airion Simmons out of Parkview High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Some scouts say he’s one of the top five high school players in the state. The Wildcats are also in the mix for several transfers to help complete next year’s roster.
Director of athletics Allen Ward said he can’t wait to witness the upcoming years for ACU basketball.
“I’m excited about the future of ACU basketball and the impact it can have on ACU,” Ward said. “Our first experience with NCAA March Madness and the incomparable notoriety the university received is evidence of just how powerful Division I basketball can be for a university.”
The Wildcats will be back for more action in Moody alongside Goodenough and Golding next fall looking to repeat as conference champs to make history once more.