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Greg Goff said that he wants his players to be “relentless on the field,” which sounds like something from the philosophy of another University of Alabama head coach. Nick Saban had a similar message when he was introduced as the Crimson Tide football coach nearly a decade ago.
On Friday, Greg Goff joined the head coaching fraternity at The University of Alabama as Crimson Tide Athletics Director Bill Battle introduced the 46-year-old Goff as the 31st head baseball coach in Bama baseball history.
Goff also proved somewhat relentless in taking over what he called his “dream job.” He said that he didn’t even give Battle time to finish the question, “Do you want to be the head baseball coach at Alabama?” as Goff interrupted with an enthusiastic “Yes, sir!”
At various times during his introductory remarks Goff expressed appreciation for his predecessor, Mitch Gaspard, leaving the program in good shape and said that he would be in touch with Gaspard to discuss various aspects of the program. Gaspard resigned following the conclusion of the 2016 season.
Head coaches of a several sports, including Avery Johnson of men’s basketball and Patrick Murphy of softball, were on hand. Goff took note that several coaches who had won national championships – Murphy and men’s and women’s golf coaches, Jay Seawell and Mic Potter – were there and he planned to discuss championship coaching with them.
And it is championships that Goff expects. He noted that Bama’s Sewell-Thomas Stadium is among the finest in the nation, a place to host NCAA Regional tournaments. “Our goal is to host regionals,” he said, “bring three teams in here and beat them and then get Alabama back to Omaha (site of the College World Series) and have a chance to win the championship.
Although Friday’s press conference had been announced Thursday, Goff said he did not accept the job until Friday morning, which coincided with the 21st wedding anniversary of Greg and Tina Goff.
He said his first order of business would be to meet with members of the 2016 Alabama baseball team who are returning, including getting a handle on the plans of those undergraduates who were taken in the recent Major League Baseball Draft.
That done, he will be recruiting. “If there are any prospects in the state who have not heard from me in the next 24 or 48 hours, then they will soon after that,” he said. “I’m a good baseball coach, and with great players I’m a great coach.”
His goal, he said, is to win the state in recruiting. And, he said, he doesn’t consider the scholarship limitations and the fact that Southeastern Conference schools in several states have extra scholarship money because of lottery scholarships and the like to be a disadvantage. “We’re going to get the kids we want,” he said, citing his philosophy of recruiting high-character men who want to earn a college degree.
“The others (SEC schools) may have some more (scholarship) money,” he said, “but we have this facility, the Alabama brand, and there are good players in this state.”
Goff said he is familiar with the state from his four seasons (2004-07) coaching at Montevallo and said that he has good relationships with the high school coaches in Alabama.
Later he will hire assistant coaches.
Goff, who has been head coach at Louisiana Tech the past two years, said that following his team’s elimination from the NCAA Tournament at the Mississippi State Regional, that his Louisiana Tech athletics director was contacted by Battle. He said when Battle called, “I thought I was dreaming. I wouldn’t have left Ruston for just any other job. My plan was not to be there just two years. Alabama is where I want to be.
“I have continued to work hard my entire career so that I could one day coach at one of the nation’s elite programs, and I could not be happier than to be a part of such a storied program. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I look forward to the challenge.”
Goff led an incredible resurgence in Ruston in only two seasons at the helm of the Louisiana Tech program. Inheriting a team that won only 15 games in 2014, Goff’s Bulldogs improved to 25-27 in 2015 before a breakthrough 42-20 record in 2016, which included an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Starkville Regional. It was the Bulldogs’ first NCAA Regional appearance in 29 years, dating back to 1987.
Battle said, Greg is a proven winner as a head coach, with an impressive record of developing programs into championship-caliber teams. I was impressed with his knowledge of the game and the SEC, his organization and control of games and practices, and his passion to coach at The University of Alabama.
"Greg has been a winner at every stop along the way, and he has done it with class. We are very excited that Greg has accepted our offer to be our next head coach, and I am confident that he will lead our student-athletes to compete for championships while doing so with the integrity and honor that we value.”
Goff, a native of Jackson, Tenn., has had success at every stop as a head coach, including two seasons at Louisiana Tech (2015-16), seven seasons at Campbell University (2008-14) and four seasons at Montevallo (2004-07). In his 13 combined seasons as a college head coach, Goff has led his teams to 40-plus wins six times, including four such seasons in his last five years (his final three years at Campbell and this past season at Tech). Furthermore, Goff’s teams have made an appearance in an NCAA Regional in two of the last three seasons (Campbell in 2014, Louisiana Tech in 2016).
While at Tech, Goff helped the Bulldogs reach the 40-win plateau for the sixth time in program history and the first time since 1988. Goff’s 2016 squad went 42-20 and advanced to the program’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 1987. His Bulldogs also set program records with seven series wins and 19 victories in Conference USA, the nation’s fifth-best league in 2016 based on Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).
Goff said his scheduling philosophy is to have some “confidence-building” games early in the season, but to have a strong schedule and RPI in order to be considered for NCAA Tournament play.
Goff’s produced a record of 224-174 at Campbell, including three consecutive 40-win seasons – the Camels’ only 40-win campaigns in program history – during his final three years in Buies Creek, N.C. In 2013, Goff was named Big South Coach of the Year and was named one of Perfect Game USA’s top-10 rising college coaches for his efforts. The Camels went 41-18 (.695) in 2012, 49-10 (.831) in 2013 and followed that with a 41-21 (.661) mark in 2014. His 2013 squad captured the Big South regular season championship, while his 2014 team won the Big South Tournament and advanced to an NCAA Regional.
Prior to Campbell, Goff directed Montevallo to a 152-84 (.644) mark in four seasons as head coach. In Goff’s final two years at UM, the Falcons set program records for wins in consecutive seasons, with 43 in 2006 and 47 in 2007. Goff led Montevallo to its first NCAA Division II College World Series appearance in 2006, where his team finished third and claimed the Southeast Region Championship. That same year, Goff was named the ABCA South Central Region Coach of the Year as well as the Coach of the Year for all divisions by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Goff brings extensive coaching experience to The Capstone, including 10 seasons as an assistant coach prior to beginning his head coaching career at Montevallo. His final stint as an assistant coach came at the University of Kentucky, where he spent five seasons as the Wildcats’ pitching coach from 1999-2003. During his time in Lexington, he helped guide UK to 38 victories in the 2000 season, a total that was a program record at the time. Goff also served as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State from 1997-99 and at his alma mater, Delta State, from 1994-97.
He played collegiately at Jackson State Community College, where he earned his associate’s degree in 1991. He then spent time on the mound at Delta State, where he would eventually earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1994 and 1996, respectively.
One goal for Goff is to involve baseball alumni in the program. He said, “I want them to be proud of what we do and I want them to be proud they played baseball at The University of Alabama,” he said.
Among former Bama baseball players on hand for the introduction were Jack Traffenstadt, Scott McClanahan, J.C. Ranelli, and Tommy Moore.
Greg and Tina Goff are the parents of four daughters: Kara, Kiley, Kolby, and Kenzie.