Rec Center

[File Photo] John Goodman (left) has been hired to lead the Tallassee baseball program for the second time. He is currently the All-time winningest coach in Tallassee history.

John Goodman knows what it takes to run a championship program, and he’s planning to bring that back to Tallassee baseball.

Fourteen years after leaving the program in 2008, Goodman has been hired to lead the Tigers for the second time in his career. Goodman is currently the all-time wins leader in Tallassee baseball history.

He was the head coach at Tallassee from 1993-2008, where he racked up a 316-206 record and two state championships in 1995 and 1998. He also served as an assistant coach under Ronnie Baynes when Tallassee won five state championships in six years between 1986-1991.

Now he’s come back to Tallassee with unfinished business and hopes of turning around a program that hasn’t been to the postseason since 2018.

“Basically, you could say I have unfinished business,” Goodman said. “I want to end my career on my terms. I want to go in there and hopefully get the program going again. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get back to where we were, but that’s the goal. We want to get back to where everyone knows who we are again.”

Goodman enters the Tallassee program in one of its worst stretches in program history. Tallassee has missed the postseason four consecutive seasons, and the Tigers have only won 29 games during that stretch.

The Tigers finished 2019 with a 10-16 record, the COVID-shortened 2020 season 8-6, then went 7-16-1 in 2021 and finished this past season 4-25 under Kyle Hammonds.

The four wins Tallassee had this season is second-worst in program history.

Goodman knows he has a challenge in front of him, but he’s been a part of seven state championships with Tallassee and he knows what needs to be done to get the Tigers back on the map.

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“It takes a lot of discipline and a passion for the game,” Goodman said. “There’s also extreme hard work. That I’ve told the kids. I’ve told everybody that you don’t win rings by showing up. It’s going to take an extreme amount of work and an extreme amount of discipline. Then you have to get a lot of luck involved, but it’s going to be a fun march.”

Goodman has been in Tallassee all his life, serving in a multitude of roles spanning across his entire career, even before and after his first stint leading the Tigers.

But coming back now has him more excited than anything else he’s done. He was excited to take the job the first time in 1993, but he had to follow Baynes and the five championships that he earned as a head coach.

He felt like he lived up to those expectations during his first stint, and now he knows what expectations there are with the program and how to achieve them.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Goodman said. “I’m on cloud nine. This time, I think I’m more excited than I was back then. It’s one of those things where I know what is expected and I know what it’s going to take to do this. Now it’s about getting out there and getting after it and having fun.”

Goodman believes it starts with the player’s attitudes and beliefs. That means more than talent does at this stage. If he can enter into the program and change attitudes, then his team can start winning games.

Tallassee ended its season on April 20 with a loss to Elmore County, right after Hammonds resigned as head coach. The team has had a small break, and now Goodman is ready to get after it.

He had a meeting with his players and team last week, and now they will begin getting after it and working hard.

“The kids are hungry like I am,” Goodman said. “We are going to work. Through the month of June, we are going to practice. We aren’t worried about playing. We are going to practice, practice, practice and get better. Then in July, we’ll get in the weight room and start getting stronger. Once January comes back around, we’ll get after it on the field again. Hopefully then all this hard work will pay off.”