A national search for the next Fort Hays State baseball coach led back to a Tiger.
Fort Hays made it a homecoming for Jerod Goodale, hiring the FHSU and Hays High product as Tigers’ head baseball coach on last May.
Goodale had spent the last seven years at Colorado School of Mines, building the Orediggers into a contender. But he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return home.
“It’s a place I hold in high regard, just growing up here and the community itself,” Goodale said. “I could probably tell you a story from every street in Hays.
“Kansas is home to me. I love Colorado and different places I’ve been, but Kansas is home to me. So to have the opportunity to lead the program you played for and grew up admiring and coach where you got your start, that is a dream job.”
Goodale’s hiring at Fort Hays is the No. 8 story on The Hays Daily News sports year in review.
Goodale was a two-time all-conference selection at Fort Hays and helped lead the Tigers to the RMAC regular season title and the conference tournament championship in 2003.
He brought life into a Colorado Mines program that had suffered 12 straight losing seasons before his arrival. He broke the skid of losing seasons by guiding the Orediggers to a 24-23 mark in his third season, and the team has averaged 33 wins per season over the last three years. Mines finished its best season in program history at 37-18 last year and won two games in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional in 2018.
“We had gotten to a great point and just had a bunch of really good people in our program, great kids,” Goodale said. “That’s tough (to leave). They definitely have a lot of guys back and they’re set up to be pretty good for a while.
“But there’s really never a good time. Opportunity waits for no one. This is one of the few places that I would have left there for.”
Goodale, who replaced Steve Johnson as FHSU coach, will look to help the Tigers experience the same level of success he once enjoyed as a player for Fort Hays.
The program has fallen on hard times recently, going 23-76 over the last two seasons.
“Me personally, I’m very competitive,” Goodale said. “It’s not like I love to win, I just hate to lose more than anything. If you lose enough, and you’re kind of wired that way, you’re going to figure it out, because it eats at you.
“Through hard work and surrounding yourself with good people, things just started rolling. Obviously, that’s the same approach here. First and foremost, it’s about getting good people, surrounding yourself with them and just getting to work.”