Archived Story

Godsey’s past pays dividends

Published 9:03am Thursday, December 30, 2010

During Hartselle’s preparations for the Cullman game this season – a game that would determine the Class 5A, Region 6 champion – Tigers’ head coach Bob Godsey was dealt an emotional blow when his father was taken to the hospital after becoming unresponsive.
“That was pretty emotional week for me because on Wednesday I really didn’t know if my dad was going to live, not to mention what we had going on that week with our preparations for the Cullman game,” Godsey said. “I find out at 8 p.m. on Wednesday that he might not wake up and by 10:30 p.m. he’s trying to open his eyes. By Friday, he was terrorizing nurses and everybody else wanting to go home.”
And somewhere during that week, Godsey managed to coach the Tigers to a 30-27 victory over Cullman.
Never once did Godsey lose focus during a difficult couple of days.
“That was a stressful week,” said Godsey, recently voted as the Class 5A coach of the year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. “It was not nearly as stressful as it could have been if I didn’t have a great family and if I didn’t have a great staff. I basically knew that things would be taken care of if I had to leave.”
Godsey’s bond with his father is special. R.L. Godsey spent 20 years as a head coach at Wicks-burg, Abbeville, Geneva County and Rogers.
Now battling the effects of Alzeiheimer’s, the elder Godsey had a profound influence on his son’s coaching style.
“I learned about hard work from him,” said Godsey. “A lot of things I try to get done as a coach goes back to how I was raised.”
The elder Godsey retired just as his son was getting ready to start his own coaching career,
“He was a my way or the highway type of guy if there ever was one,” Godsey said. “Back in his coaching days, you could do that. Now we’re to the point where kids might have one parent or no parents and you can’t coach them like that. I treat my players fairly, but you can’t treat them the same.”
It’s a lesson Godsey learned on his own that has served him well in 13 seasons as a head coach.

Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or at

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