It was a pretty simple request, really, but a 10-year-old Casey Goodman wasn’t having any of it. Goodman, who was recently promoted to associate head coach for Lamar State College Port Arthur’s softball team, had no interest in a request from her youth softball coach, who also happened to be her mother. “She wanted me to be catcher,” Goodman said. “I told her ‘no’.” Her mother, Dorothy, told her she could sit the bench. “So I put on the catcher’s gear,” Casey said.
Maybe it was a move out of necessity at the time, or perhaps Dorothy saw a special talent in her daughter that playing catcher would cultivate.
Regardless, that moment in time has carried Casey through many record-setting years as a player and a coach. Most recently, the LSCPA Seahawks have broken school records with their hitting, Goodman’s specialty, and she has been rewarded by being promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach. Vance Edwards, who has been with the LSCPA program since its inception in 2005, is head coach, while Megan Rowe serves as assistant coach, working with the team’s pitchers.
The Seahawks are entering the NJCAA Region 14 Tournament for the third time in school history, with an opening game on Saturday, May 6, at 12:30 p.m. The tourney is taking place at Angelina College in Lufkin. LSCPA’s first opponent has not yet been determined.
Casey Goodman’s path from a reluctant 10-year-old catcher to a nationally-ranked college player took her from Bakersfield to Louisiana, then Italy and, finally, to Port Arthur.
“I played youth softball and spent a lot of time with travel teams over the years,” she said. “But I really loved basketball. I just didn’t have the height to play college basketball. I realized that if I wanted to get a scholarship to play in college, it would be in softball.”
Goodman had plenty chances to play junior college softball in California but passed for the opportunity to play Division I ball in Louisiana.
“It was my chance to get a fresh start, to prove myself on my own,” she said.
Between her junior and senior years at North High School in Bakersfield, while playing at a national softball tournament, she was approached by coaches at Northeast Louisiana University.
“I have a younger brother and sister and I knew if I was going to go to school, someone else was going to have to pay for it,” she said. “Northeast offered me a scholarship and I knew I couldn’t pass it up.”
Coaches at Northeast are certainly happy she didn’t.
Over the next four years, Goodman was a four-time All-Southland Conference first team catcher, a two time All-South Region catcher, and the university’s Female Athlete of the Year. During her time there, the school changed its name to the University of Louisiana-Monroe. She graduated from ULM in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education.
“ULM was a great place to play because it was small enough that a player wasn’t going to get overlooked but at the same time, we still played the big schools … Oklahoma, UCLA, Arizona,” she said. “We played a legitimate schedule, so the success we had was legitimate.”
And while she continued to don catcher’s gear throughout her playing career, Goodman much preferred her time at the plate as a hitter. She still holds records at ULM for career runs batted in and ranks in the Top 5 in home runs in a career, home runs in a season, RBIs in a season and career batting average.
“The first two years in college, it wasn’t easy,” she said. “In fact, it was just pitiful. I led the team in home runs but I also led the team in strikeouts.”
Between her sophomore and junior seasons, she went into the batting cage and restructured her approach to hitting and she flourished at the plate. As a senior in 2003, she averaged .382 with seven doubles, a triple and 13 home runs. She also had a .772 slugging percentage, a .490 on-base percentage and fielded .989.
In 2003, she was named to the Southland Conference’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Softball Roster.
After a one-year foray into Europe where she played professionally for the Langhirano Italian A Team where she ranked 13th in the league for batting average.
Back in Louisiana as an assistant coach, she helped start the softball program at LSU-Eunice where the Bengals advanced to two regional appearances and coached four all-region players. She moved over to start the softball program at LSU-Alexandria where she led the team to the school’s first postseason appearance, which took place in the first year they were eligible to participate.
Goodman crossed state lines to join the Lamar State College Port Arthur program for the 2012 season and had an immediate impact as the Seahawks won 29 games that season after winning just eight the season before. Since she arrived at LSCPA, the Seahawks have had a .476 win percentage with this year’s program setting a school record for wins with 31.
“I try to be a player’s coach,” she said. “I see the things our players go through and I remember what it was like to be in their position. I’m hard and demanding but my expectations are clear. They know what I want from them, but they also know they can come to me when they are struggling.”
This year’s program has set new school records for hits in a season (550), runs in a season (315) and RBIs in a season (268). She has coached three National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Americans, as well as nine NJCAA all-region South Zone and six all-region players over the past seven seasons. But, the 2017 season boasts the greatest hitter in Seahawks history in Nederland’s Savana Guidry. Aside from breaking practically every hitting record in school history, she has been named an NJCAA national player of the week and NFCA national player of the week this season. She is the first-ever Seahawk hitter to post an average over .500, hitting .510 this year.
“Vance has been a great head coach to work for,” Goodman said. “He has allowed me to bring my vision to the program. This promotion to associate head coach is exciting. Vance and (Director of Athletics) Scott (Street) have shown they believe in my ability to help this program. That’s a huge deal for me.
“This has been a remarkable season for us, and we’re not through yet. We’re so ready to start this regional tournament.”