CHURUBUSCO — David Goodwell is a first-time high school head basketball coach, but his experience coaching and training in the game far exceeds that rookie title.
Goodwell will share his knowledge with the Churubusco girls cagers and looks to bring stability and success to the Eagles.
“I’m a builder,” Goodwell said Tuesday afternoon before practice with his new team. “I want to be here long-term. I’m not passing by.”
Goodwell’s hire was accepted by the Smith-Green Community Schools board of education on July 20. He replaces Kellene Pepple, who resigned in June after one season where Churubusco went 6-16.
Goodwell joins Churubusco after a long run as an assistant coach with the girls at Fort Wayne South Side. In his 17 seasons, including the last 11 working for his wife Juanita, the Archers grew into one of the stronger programs in northern Indiana, winning 285 games, seven sectional championships, two regional titles, two Summit Athletic Conference titles, and a Class 4A semi-state title. South Side was the 4A state runner-up in 2013.
David Goodwell was also an assistant at South Side for current Trine University women’s basketball coach Andy Rang for five seasons from 2004-09.
Goodwell will be Churubusco’s third different girls coach in as many seasons and the fourth in the last five years. He is also very familiar with many of the best players in the Northeast Corner Conference. He has worked with Angola’s Hanna Knoll and Lauren Leach, Garrett’s Bailey Kelham, West Noble’s Lilly Mast, Central Noble’s Bridgette Gray and Eastside’s Sullivan Kessler.
Goodwell has been a trainer and coach in Vernard Hollins’ Always 100 Basketball Academy in Fort Wayne since its inception and has worked with some pros along the way, including former Purdue standouts Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas. Goodwell traveled with Swanigan from workout to workout on his way to getting drafted 26th by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017. Swanigan returned to Portland in a trade with Sacramento in January.
Goodwell is a Harding High graduate who played NAIA football at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He started coaching boys basketball on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit, then gave coaching girls a try and fell in love with it. He coached elementary level girls for seven years before working at South Side.
Goodwell learned a lot along the way, including from noted basketball trainers Ganon Baker and Micah Lancaster. With some care and effort, Goodwell can see good things happening at Churubusco.
“The girls are buying in,” Goodwell said. “I’m taking them through some stuff and they are getting better. There’s talent here.
“I don’t care about records (in the past). I know what I can do.”
Goodwell likes the potential of the feeder program in Churubusco. He also likes the leadership he is getting from senior Mariah Hosted and juniors Brelle Shearer and Cara Debolt over the past couple of weeks working with his new program.
“They are being more vocal,” Goodwell said. “And it’s natural. I’m letting them do it.”
Goodwell is going to make the Eagles an attacking team. But he understands there are steps that need to be taken for players to develop and grow in order to build a more complete product.
“I’m going to be patient,” Goodwell said. “A loss does not mean it’s the end of the world. We need to learn from it... We want to extend our season and get better each day.”
Goodwell is excited about working in the school and seeing his players every day. He was also hired on to be a full-time para-professional at Churubusco Junior-Senior High School.