Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 27, 2013

Park a goodfit at Goshen

Goshen News

---- — For nearly three decades, Goshen High School had one of the most stable football programs in the state. In 1978 coach Ken Mirer led Goshen to the 2A state title, the first such championship in Elkhart County history. Three years later the Redskins were 2A state runners-up under Mirer.

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, under the guidance of head coach Randy Robertson, Goshen completed a perfect 14-0 season by claiming the 1988 4A state championship behind the record passing performance of All-American quarterback Rick Mirer, Ken’s son.

And in 1999, head coach Brad Park’s team lost a 24-21 heartbreaker in the final minute of the 4A state championship game to Indianapolis Cathedral.

Between 1974 and 2002, Mirer, Robertson and Park combined for a 220-94 record that included two state championships, two state runner-up finishes and one perfect season. In the 11 seasons since Park retired following the 2002 season, Goshen has had six head coaches who have a combined record of 37-78, two winless seasons (2004 and 2013), just one winning season (8-4 in 2007) and zero conference or sectional titles.

IT’S TIME TO REVERSE this negative slide and return some success and pride back into the Goshen football program. GCS administrators believe they have found the man who can do it in 35-year-old Kyle Park, whose hiring was approved Monday by school trustees. Yes, Kyle is the son of Brad Park. He was also an All-State quarterback for Goshen who graduated in 1997 and went on to play college football at Ferris State University in Michigan.

Park graduated with a business degree, but eventually decided to become a teacher and a high school football coach. For the past five seasons Park has been the offensive coordinator for Zionsville High School. Oh yeah, he was also named that school corporation’s Teacher of the Year in 2010.

With his pedigree and current connections — his younger brother Kevin is on the Goshen coaching staff — Kyle is well aware of past glories and recent struggles at Foreman Field.

“It’s been hard watching what the program has been going through,” Park told Goshen News sportswriter Greg Keim Monday night. “I want to return Goshen football to a place where I think and the community thinks it should be.”

FOOTBALL SHOULD NEVER be everything in a community or in a school, but to dismiss it as nothing or non-essential would be a crucial mistake. The success of a well-run program has a tendency to bring a community together. The substance and resiliency of building that success tends to foster life lessons and habits that strengthen young lives forever. The product of that success is often immeasurable. Just ask anybody who was on that 1978 team, that ’81 team, that ’88 team, that ’99 team.

Mike Moon was on that 1988 state championship team. He caught 77 passes for 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns that year. Here’s what he had to say about that experience:

“Achieving the goal was a defining moment, one that taught you something about who you are and what you can accomplish on the field and elsewhere in life.”

It was that experience and that team, Moon added, that helped motivate him to complete law school and become an attorney. That’s what a successful program can accomplish.

We are excited about Monday’s hire and we are confident that positive results, both seen and unseen, await.

Welcome back, Kyle. We’re pulling for you.