STARKVILLE

Sports fans throughout the state of Mississippi lost a great man last Thursday when Tom Goode passed away at 76.

The Tom Goode I knew was far removed from his days as an All-American at Mississippi State and Super Bowl champion in the NFL.

Our paths first crossed when Goode was scouting one of my high school games as the head coach at East Mississippi Community College.

By the time we officially met in the fall of 2006, Goode was in his late 60s and his coaching career of over 30 years was nearing an end.

Goode was volunteering his time to work as an assistant coach at Oak Hill Academy in West Point and I was a novice newspaper reporter fresh out of college.

But despite my inexperience, I knew greatness when I saw it and Goode was a legend in my eyes. He always had a smile and a handshake with his massive paws waiting whenever I would stop by.

I was fortunate enough to share several one-on-one moments with Goode over the next three years. Those are fond memories that I cherish even more now that he is gone.

I can remember sitting in a dark locker room inside Oak Hill’s field house  with Goode as he broke down film just as he’d done so many times coaching at MSU, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Alabama and in the CFL.

I recall the time he attended a baseball game between Oak Hill and Jackson Academy, coached by former Diamond Dog and MLB pitcher Jay Powell. I told Goode how odd it was to be in a small town like West Point and have the man that snapped the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V and a man that won Game 7 of the 1997 World Series both in the same ball park.

Goode immediately lumbered onto the diamond to introduce himself to Powell. I snapped a picture for posterity.

Perhaps the best memory I have with Goode occurred in 2007, just before the Colts were making their first Super Bowl appearance since he last snapped Jim O’Brien’s 32-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

Goode’s main objective that day was to deliver a grill to a hunting camp for a fundraiser for Oak Hill. I hopped in the passenger seat of Goode’s white Ford F-150, put a digital recorder in the middle and we started driving. But as the miles and minutes ticked away, he began recalling his glory days on the gridiron mentioning names like Butkus, Unitas and other legends with such vivid recollection that I felt like I was battling in the trenches alongside him.

I tried to do Goode’s stories justice in that article eight years ago and still consider it one of my best.

I’m sure some reading this knew him far better than I, but he will certainly not be forgotten by me or the many others he touched during his time on this earth.

Logan Lowery (logan.lowery@journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideMSUSports.com

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