By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)November 16, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Nov. 16, 2018) -- A noncommissioned officer and a retired Army veteran at Fort Benning find time during busy schedules to coach and mentor young athletes in football, basketball and baseball.
Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Goad, a platoon sergeant for B Troop, 1st Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, in addition to supporting his unit's mission of new Army lieutenants taking Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course. David Lacy is a urology technician at Martin Army Community Hospital's urology clinic at Fort Benning. Both Goad and Lacy, in addition to the obligations of their careers and Families, coach youth sports and both coach the Fort Benning Bengals youth football.
The Bengals team of Fort Benning children ages 11 to 13, who play football against teams in Columbus, Georgia, and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley community, including Phenix City, Alabama.
Goad during his 17-year Army career has deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and had been stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Riley, Kansas, Fort Polk Louisiana, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, before coming to Fort Benning.
"I've always had a passion for the game," said Goad. "I've been watching football since I was, you know, super young. I watched it with my dad and granddad growing up, and I played for several years in school and after school. And I joined the Army and my playing days were over, but I've always watched."
Goad said it is a dream of his to coach football and baseball when he retires.
"I enjoy being around the kids and spreading knowledge and teaching them about the game," said Goad.
Goad also helped found the little league baseball team at Fort Benning. Part of his impetus for coaching little league baseball was to spend time with his son, whom he coached when his son was 9 years old. He continues to coach his son, who is 16 now, in little league.
"He's very detailed and committed," said Travis Washington, assistant director of Youth Sports and Fitness / Instructional Programs at Fort Benning, of Goad. "He's committed to the kids."
Lacy, outside of his career as a urology technician, coaches both the Fort Benning Bengals and basketball. Lacy retired from a 24-year active-duty career at Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2013, and, because his wife is from Georgia, he moved with his Family to the Columbus area to start a civilian career.
Lacy's own football-playing career as a tight end, wide receiver and cornerback on defense spanned his time in high school, college and the Army. He played for DeVilbiss High School in Toledo, Ohio from 1978 to 1980, for the Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, from 1980 to 1982. In 1982 he joined the Army and was stationed at Bad Kitzingen, Germany, and Vicenza, Italy. In Vicenza from 1984 to 1986 he played with the Geronimos, a team in the Northern Italian Football League, which played other military and civilian American football teams in the area.
In 1991, Lacy took part in Operation Desert Storm and left active duty to return home to Ohio, where he joined a Reserve medical unit. He moved to Atlanta and worked a number of medical jobs. It was there where he met his wife Lori. He rejoined active-duty service in 2006, and it was at Ansbach, Germany, where he first began coaching the Ansbach Bears youth football team. He continued to coach youth football in Augusta, Georgia, and Fort Carson, Colorado.
He retired from active-duty there and moved to Georgia because Lori's family is from Georgia.
Now he teaches his knowledge of football to young players at Fort Benning, and when he can he supports their football careers after they have left the Bengals.
"I try to go to some of the schools that the ex-Bengals are freshmen now and try to show some support," said Lacy. "That makes that player feel good. 'He's still watching me; he still cares.'"
Lacy said furthermore he enjoys receiving positive feedback from the community concerning his players when they play away games. He said he was given such feedback during a game playing the Lakebottom Panthers at Columbus, Georgia.
"You represent your parents, the United States military, the Army," said Lacy, of his players' comportment off post. "This is a lot for a little kid to shoulder who is 11 or 12 years old, but they handled themselves like gentlemen out there."
"He's an awesome coach," said Washington of Lacy. "He's a very humble person. Like I said, he doesn't care about winning, he just cares more about what the kids learn. And he feels like if they learn something that makes them better, that makes his coaching year successful."
And the wins and losses for the Bengals have varied year to year. The Bengals had a successful year in 2016, winning over the Phenix City Titans 32-6 at a regional championship. The 2017 and 2018 football seasons have not been as successful.
One of the unique challenges Goad and Lacy face when coaching youth team sports at military installations is the high player turnover. In addition to players aging out of the 11- to 13-year-old bracket, many military service member parents permanently change station.
"I'm sure that when we start our team up this year, I'm going to see some familiar faces, but more than likely I'm going to see a lot of brand new faces," said Goad. "It's my second year of coaching [football] for the Bengals, and out of 23 players, I had five returning faces.
"We all understand that we're at kind of a disadvantage," continued Goad of his fellow coaches. "We don't get to build that rapport as a seasoned team would."
For both Lacy and Goad, coaching takes considerable time from an already busy schedule, but both feel the effort is worthwhile. Goad feels it part of his duty.
"You have to be well-rounded," said Goad of why he uses his spare time to coach. "You can't just take, you have to give back."
Lacy's volunteer time and Family time overlap. His wife Lori is an assistant basketball coach provides medical care for football and basketball. His oldest son CJ is in basic training now at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Before he joined the military, CJ helped coach the 11- to 13-year-olds. His son Jayson, 16, coaches the 9- to 10-year-olds and provides mentorship to some of the 11- to 13-year-old players. Lacy's daughter Brianna, 12, is a cheerleader, plays basketball, and helps coach the 7- and 8-year-old basketball players.
Goad finds commonalities in his experience as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army and his role as coach.
"It's always good to give back and share your knowledge with the younger generation, just as I do as a Soldier," said Goad. "I'm the old guy now, and I'm giving my knowledge to the younger generation for them to carry on when I'm retired and gone."