Doug Goodmund has seen the high school sports landscape change dramatically in his 39 years as a registered official with the Minnesota State High School League.
He saw the addition of girls' basketball to the MSHSL in 1974, and a little more than a decade later, the three-point line was introduced to high school basketball. The rules have changed, the schools have changed, even the physical capabilities of the athletes have changed. Goodmund says today's high school student-athletes are bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled than when he first started officiating football as a student at Southwest Minnesota State University (then known as Southwest Minnesota State College) in 1973 with two friends from his hometown of Russell.
What hasn't changed since then, Goodmund said, is the need for officials at every level of every sport.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Doug Goodmund poses with a volleyball, basketball and football in the Marshall High School gym. Goodmund, who became a registered high school official 39 years ago, will receive a Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota State High School League on Saturday during a ceremony at halftime of the Class A boys’ basketball state tournament at Target Center in Minneapolis.
"If we didn't have officials, it would only be recess," Goodmund said. "You need officials."
Over a span of nearly four decades, Goodmund, 56, has dedicated himself to the cause. He has officiated football, basketball and volleyball, with a little baseball and softball thrown in the mix. He and his wife, Robbie, are known not only as two of the top volleyball officials in the region, but two of the best in the state.
At halftime of Saturday's Class A boys' basketball final at Target Center in Minneapolis, Goodmund and a handful of other individuals will be awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the MSHSL. The award is designed to recognize those individuals who go "above and beyond" in their service for their association and the student-athletes who participate within the MSHSL.
Goodmund's long tenure as an official is just part of the reason he is being recognized by the MSHSL. A lot of the work he has done has gone on behind the scenes, but has no doubt had a major impact on the quality of the area's high school athletic events. He has served on the MSHSL Officials Advisory Board and currently serves as an MSHSL officials observer in volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball. He is also a charter clinician for the Marshall Officials Association, a MSHSL mechanics clinician and a Section 3A/AA site host for baseball and softball when tournaments come to Marshall.
A big man with a big personality, Goodmund has used his gregarious nature to build the pool of officials in Southwest Minnesota through recruiting while also serving as a mentor to referees in the area to help them fine-tune their skills and keep pushing to become better.
"He's been a big part in getting a lot of people involved one way or another, whether it's officiating or umping or coaching or playing, you name it," said Bryce Pack, who officiated football with Goodmund for more than 30 years and has worked with Goodmund in other aspects through his role as athletic director at Red Rock Central.
"I know when my sons went to college at (SMSU), he always got them involved with reffing JV games, and that's how you get young kids started is getting their feet wet through JV games that aren't quite as pressure-packed as varsity contests. Through working games like that they get more comfortable with that and eventually become varsity officials."
Being an official isn't easy. There's the continual pressure to make the right call and the risk of being ridiculed by the fans. But Goodmund said it isn't so much the jeers from the crowd that weigh on an official's mind after blowing a call as it is the realization that he/she may have cost a team a possession, its momentum or a game.
There's also the need to find the right balance of officiating, spending time with family and concentrating on a full-time occupation, among other things. The father of twin daughters, Ashley and Cassie - both now out of school, and the assistant director for Marshall Community Services, Goodmund has found that balance over the years and said he has had far more positive experiences in officiating than negative ones. Along with building relationships with the area's coaches, athletic directors, officials, media members, etc., he has also enjoyed being around a competitive athletic environment and following the success of area teams and athletes.
"The great thing about high school sports is it's still genuine sports. It's played for no money, just the desire to win," Goodmund said. "You can go to that next level of college and pros and it's just different. Not that March Madness and NCAA basketball isn't great basketball, but there's different motivational factors.
"It's the pure fun of playing, coaches coaching their sons or daughters, the community pride. When Ellsworth was at state, winning state championships, the town was empty. Minneota, the same thing. Southwest Minnesota has had tremendous success at the state level."
When he's working a volleyball match, Goodmund is able to merge his family time with his time as an official. He and Robbie, who have been married 32 years, have officiated matches together for 27 years and worked about eight state tournaments together. Goodmund said the MSHSL told him that he and Robbie were the first husband/wife pair to officiate at the state tournament.
The two both look forward to the fall when volleyball season kicks off and they get to work matches together.
"We both love sports," said Robbie, who played two years of volleyball at SMSU and currently serves as a volleyball rules clinician. "It kind of gives us some time to go out and do something we both love to do, make a little extra money, and we get to do something for the kids and the coaches.
"Hopefully we can do a good job and keep everything fair and equal, and that's all we really try to do. We want to go out and have fun, just like the kids go out and try to have fun."
Goodmund has tried to get as many other people as possible to join in on the fun and become an official. When he first got into officiating, he said some of the veteran officials took him under their wing and shared the advice they had gathered during their time serving on the field of play. Once Goodmund began to have success as an official, earning the right to officiate important section finals and state tournament games, he began to give a helping hand to young officials who were just starting out.
"If you can mentor them, help them get better, get them state tournament games, it always makes you feel good if they are achieving that success," Goodmund said.
Jeff Gladis is one of many area officials Goodmund has had an impact on. A registered basketball official with the MSHSL for 28 years, Gladis said it was Goodmund who encouraged him to start officiating more games when he was younger, and later on, it was Goodmund who urged him to apply to officiate state tournament games.
"He's the one, when we get a bigger assignment, once I talk to Craig (Norland) and whoever else I'm reffing with for the big assignment, I usually make a call to Goody and say, 'Hey, we got this state game,' or 'We got this Section 2AAA championship game,'" said Gladis, who officiated a Class A boys state tournament game on Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. "He's always the first one I call after I talk to two guys that I ref with the most."
Gladis and other area officials also consider Goodmund the "go-to guy" for rules clarifications and for addressing what to do in certain situations where there are gray areas in the rule book.
Gladis said Goodmund stresses to officials that they always have to try to hustle to put themselves in the right position to make the right call, so even if they don't make the right call, being out of position won't be an excuse.
"Your goal is to be as perfect as you can," Goodmund said. "Being a perfectionist in terms of what you do, how you hold yourself out on the floor, how you communicate, yeah, I'd say you want to be as perfect as you can be knowing that your next call or your last call could have been wrong and you might have blown it. Sometimes the only way out of that is to say, 'I blew it.'"
Goodmund has cut back on officiating basketball and football, but still goes to games to serve as an observer to view and critique officials on their performance. The first person to critique Goodmund when he officiated football was Jerry Seeman, who went on to become the senior director of officiating for the NFL.
Along with his role as an observer, Goodmund also helps select officials to work section tournaments and state tournaments, and he serves as a site manager for Section 3A/AA baseball and softball tournaments. James Lasley, the Region 3A executive secretary, has worked with Goodmund for more than 10 years and said Goodmund's desire for perfection as an official carries over to his duties as a tournament host.
"He just does an outstanding job. He's very well organized," Lasley said. "He wants to make it a class event for our student-athletes of Region 3A, and he does do it.
"Instead of making sure the event goes on, he makes sure the event goes on with class and that every detail is down to a 'T'."
The MSHSL is celebrating 100 years of state basketball tournaments at this week's boys' state tournament. Goodmund was a witness to and a part of some of that history, and he hopes to get more people involved in officiating basketball and other sports so they can have a part in Minnesota high school sports history, too.
"Everybody should try it," Goodmund said. "I don't think everybody can do it or wants to do it, but if you sat up in the stands and screamed at an official, think if you were down on the floor and how you would have reacted in that quick amount of time.
"I'd like to encourage anyone who has a feel for the game and would like to try it to give it a chance."