Heavenly adorned with volumes of fetching blonde curls, Ruston High’s Kara Goff was slapped with the nickname, “Ramen Noodles,” by Pineville’s rabid student section during a softball game this past spring.
If the shoe, as they say, fits … Goff’s Lady Bearcat teammates liked the name so well, they kept it throughout the newcomer’s first season in Ruston, according to softball teammate Madeline Keen, who shares a lot in common with her friend.
The multi-talented Goff was one of those miracle move-ins for Ruston High athletics after her father, Greg, was named the head baseball coach at Louisiana Tech in June 2014. She’s currently starring on the Bearkats’ volleyball team, undefeated in Division I, District 1 play, and she is really, really good on the softball field.
From Bearcat to Tiger
Goff caught the attention of the LSU coaching staff this summer and was offered a scholarship by the 2015 Women’s College World Series participants that were ranked No. 1 in the country at one point last season.
“It’s kinda crazy how things work out,” said Goff, who almost decided to play travel ball during the summer with a Texas team before opting to play for the Patriots out of Baton Rouge. That team is coached by Darrell Landry, father of current Lady Tigers’ outfielder Bailey Landry.
“He put in a good word for me with the LSU coaches. They came and watched me, and liked my swing,” Goff said. “I don’t think anything compares to LSU — it’s everything I wanted in a school. It was perfect.”
The Goff family initially kept the verbal commitment in-house for fear the LSU decision might not sit well in Ruston due her father’s profession. But there have been no repercussions in a forgiving community, and Goff couldn’t receive an athletic scholarship to Tech anyway. An NCAA rule stipulates that a coach at a school must work there at least five years before their child can be awarded an athletic scholarship to the school, according to Greg Goff.
“I’ve always told my girls that they won’t be the smartest in the world, so they’d better get athletic scholarships,” said Greg Goff tongue-in-cheek. “With Kara, it’s been softball, softball, softball. She has worked very hard to get to this point, and God has had a plan for her.”
She even missed prom to play softball. Her Patriots team competes nearly every fall weekend in places like Houston, Dallas or Sulphur.
“My wife (Tina, a former swimmer at Delta State) loads up the girls on Friday and heads out,” Goff said.
Her college decision out of the way, Kara has set about enjoying her senior year, after making the tumultuous transition from Buies Creek, North Carolina, in the middle of her high school career.
“It was difficult because I had lived there for most of my life and I had a lot of close friends,” she said. “But I was happy for my dad because he had been working so hard (at Campbell University). I knew being at Tech would open a lot more doors for him and our family.”
An athletic family
Being an athlete in an athletic family helped ease the move for Kara, the oldest of four girls. When she arrived on the Ruston High campus, The Times All-Area player made friends quickly and her services were requested from various coaches from tennis and basketball to softball and volleyball. She only feels adept at the latter two.
“People helped my mom find a job (teaching at Choudrant Elementary), they welcomed me with open arms and we found the perfect daycare,” Goff said. “It was like moving to Ruston was meant to be.”
Friends like Katie Durrett, daughter of RHS principal Rickey Durrett, and Keen also smoothed the transition. Keen walked up to the newbie when she arrived in town and introduced herself. The softball standouts have since discovered they have a lot in common.
“We both have a strong work ethic and always put the team first,” Keen said. “Plus, we’re the oldest in our families with younger sisters. Two of our sisters are good friends in middle school.”
The Goff family is all about athletic competition, whether they’re inside or outdoors. During a recent family fishing expedition to the pond at Squire Creek, three teams of Goffs paired off against one another – Greg and 5-year-old Kenzie, Kara and 13-year-old Kiley, and Tina with 9-year-old Kolby.
“With my family, everything is definitely a competition,” Goff said chuckling. “Me and Kiley won, but we just had a couple of fish.”
Greg Goff doesn’t get to see his daughters in action very often. He’s too busy working seven days a week trying to rebuild the Tech baseball into the powerhouse it was under the late “Gravy” Patterson. But he does appreciate the step his oldest daughter has taken.
“To have a chance to play in the SEC is a huge opportunity,” he said. “(LSU coach) Beth (Torina) is a great lady, very family oriented and spiritual. I felt comfortable that she’ll take care of my daughter.”
FIND IT ONLINE
Watch a video of Kara Goff at shreveporttimes.com.
Divsion I, District I: Airline at Ruston, 6:30 p.m.; Byrd at Northwood, 6:30 p.m.; Captain Shreve at Caddo Magnet 6:30 p.m.; Haughton at BTW, 6:30 p.m.
Division IV, District I: Mansfield at Loyola, 5 p.m.; Evangel at North Caddo, 5 p.m.