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Beyond Basketball: Love & Support Built This Year’s Tip-Off Classic

Bogan Computer Technical High School basketball team

I’m looking forward to this year’s Tip-Off Classic for several reasons. One is the fact that the tournament returns this year after a year off for the pandemic. Another is that this year’s 14-team tournament expanded at the last minute to include a longtime powerhouse: Winnebago High School.

The one that means the most this year – and the one I want to share – is about love.   

In 2019, my family and I met Coach Goodie, the Bogan Computer Technical High School basketball coach Arthur Goodwin, who went by Coach Goodie with his players, colleagues, friends and fans.

He coached Bogan High School’s boys basketball team to a state runner-up finish in 2019 in the IHSA Class 3A State Tournament – the same year our East High School E-Rabs finished in the final four in Class 4A.  

It quickly became clear to us that Coach Goodie had a tremendous rapport with his players and impact on those around him – young and old – in particular with the young men on his team. It reminded us of our own community pillars: East Athletic Director and head football coach Gary Griffin and Auburn’s Social Studies teacher and head basketball coach Bryan Ott, to name a few. 

That following summer, we invited Chicago Bogan and Coach Goodie to Rockford for the Chicagoland Summer Showcase, followed by the 2019 Tip-Off Classic in November. It was an easy invitation because of who Coach Goodie was.   

Coach Goodie died unexpectedly in May. His death devastated the Bogan community and its basketball program. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “The impact Goodwin, a 1985 graduate of South Shore, had on the players in his program was resounding. Goodwin was not only a program builder but a nurturer of players. The behind-the-scenes care he had for those players and relationships he built — and the importance of that — will be missed.” What a deep loss for his team, the school and community.   

The team at Bogan is now under the leadership of former assistant coach Kenneth Horton, and they’re working to rebuild and recover together. Coach Horton reached out after we published the Tip-Off Classic schedule to see if there was any way they could still compete in the tournament and help build their season and opportunities for their players. So I made the ask to the coaches and athletic directors in an email:   

In the spirit of camaraderie and love, my hope is that we can rally together to help these young men and the community.  

Two days later, we had it all worked out. Coaches were generous with their time and willing to adjust schedules and regroup to include Chicago Bogan. That’s what Coach Goodie would have done. Suddenly we had a 14-team event with even more talent. There was a clear sentiment: We’ll do whatever it takes to make this happen and help the team and their program.   

I know this happened because of Coach Goodie’s spirit and the love in the basketball community. This was programs working together – supporting kids – because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what coaching is all about.   

Bogan High School Principal Sharon Dixon followed up with this kind note:

Thank you all so much for supporting Coach Ken and Bogan! We are greatly appreciative, and I am certain Coach Goodie is smiling!

That’s love.  

Mat Parker and his family

Mat Parker

Mat Parker is the Director of Athletics, Activities and Program Development for Rockford Public Schools. He has a master’s degree in psychology and foundations of education from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from Castleton State University. Mat was a four-sport high school athlete and four-year starter for Castleton’s men’s basketball program and was recently inducted into their 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame. Parker taught history and coached in Winnebago and South Beloit for 13 years. He revived a struggling SOBO boys basketball program, leading the team to their first regional championship in 31 years and three straight 20-plus win seasons. He resides in Rockford with his wife, Jessica, and two children.

  • Athletics
  • Tip-Off Classic