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'Just do what's right,' advises retired college football coach before another hall of fame induction

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Bethany College
Bob Goin, a Penn Hills High School alumnus, coached at Bethany College from 1960 to 1976. He then went on to lead teams at West Virginia University, California University of Pennsylvania and Florida State University. He retired in 1994.
Courtesy of the Goin family
Retired collegiate coach Bob Goin, 76, and his wife, Nancy, reside in Jacksonville, Fla. They have four children and six grandchildren.
University of Cincinnati
Bob Goin (in the suit) on the sidelines in 2004 before the University of Cincinnati played Southern Mississippi University. He was, at the time, the athletic director at the University of Cincinnati.

Everyone likes to win. After more than 40 years of building and guiding college athletics, retiree Bob Goin makes no apologies for that.

But at 76, the Penn Hills High School alumnus who led top-tier university sports programs in West Virginia, Florida and Ohio believes in a bigger priority, a lifelong goal he shares with the next generation of program leaders.

“Just do what's right,” Goin said from his home outside Jacksonville, Fla., recalling early lessons of self-discipline and resilience he learned from playing football, baseball and basketball at Penn Hills. “There's no disgrace in losing a hard-fought athletic contest. There's hurt in it, but there's no disgrace in it.”

Those ethics — and their results — will take center stage on June 14 in Orlando when the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics inducts Goin and six others into its hall of fame.

“He was obviously very instrumental” everywhere he worked, said Julie Work, assistant executive director at the Westlake, Ohio-based NACDA. She said the honor recognizes Goin's entire career, although she would not discuss who nominated him.

Goin holds memberships in halls of fame at Penn Hills High, the University of Cincinnati and Bethany College, the West Virginia school where he studied education and sociology and started his professional career as a coach and athletic director. He coached football, basketball and baseball and taught physical education at Bethany.

A 16-year appointment at Bethany lasted until 1976, when he joined West Virginia University for three years as an assistant athletic director.

Goin went next to California University of Pennsylvania for a year as athletic director, then to Florida State University, where he and legendary coach Bobby Bowden oversaw the football team's rise to a national championship in 1993.

“He drove Florida State, and they really became a big Florida powerhouse,” said his son, Brian Goin, 51, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “He always had that vision to look ahead down the road, not just what's going to happen next week.”

Bob Goin retired the first time in 1994 but it wouldn't stick. The University of Cincinnati recruited him in 1997 to lead its wobbly athletic program to glory.

His leadership leveraged the school into the Big East Conference as he oversaw a facilities overhaul worth more than $80 million. The push drew on contributions from the private sector before Goin retired again in 2006.

“It was still in my blood. They were in need of some leadership,” he said, explaining why he returned to the workforce. “I always said the athletic director is like the director of a play. ... Not much attention is on the director. His job is to put the right cast in the right spots.”

Goin showed natural leadership from his earliest days in coaching at Bethany, said Andy Urbanic, 75, of Tallahassee, Fla. Having grown up in Scott, he and Goin went to college and later worked together at Bethany.

“He could hire people around him who were competent and good. He exerted confidence in himself,” Urbanic said. “That confidence parlayed off to the rest of his staff and people he was working with. He inspired people to work hard and to get the job done.”

A father of four, Goin and his wife, Nancy, have six grandchildren. Reached last week, he said he was about to hit the pool for 40 laps.

“I think sports has such tremendous value in teaching life's lessons,” Goin said. “You will get knocked down. You will get knocked in the face. But you can get back up.”

Adam Smeltz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or

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