Damon Goodwin looked like his old self Tuesday night as his Capital Crusaders played a home game against the Wittenberg Tigers in Bexley.
Goodwin reacted as every coach does to questionable calls. He tried to will shots into the basket with body language, including a last-second 3-pointer that would have tied the game but glanced off the rim as Capital lost 63-60, falling to 4-2. Goodwin stood still for an instant and then went to shake hands with his friend Matt Croci, the new Wittenberg head coach.
It was not a happy night for the former Dayton Flyers guard, but just being back on the court this season after missing the entire 2015-16 is its own reward. In November 2015, Goodwin was diagnosed with hairy-cell leukemia. He underwent chemotherapy treatments until April and returned to the job in May.
“I’ve been good ever since,” Goodwin said after the game. “I’ve really looked forward to getting back into it. We’ve got a young team, so it’s been a trying preseason, but I really like what we’re doing. I really like the guys we have. I think we’re building our program back to a championship level that we’ve had previously.”
Goodwin played for Dayton’s Elite Eight team in 1984 and graduated from UD in 1986. He ranks 32nd in school history with 1,191 points. He has been the head coach at Capital since the 1994-95 season and has won the Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award six times, most recently in 2013.
Assistant coach Andy Winters led the Crusaders in Goodwin’s absence last season. They finished 12-14. Goodwin stayed in touch with the team and attended a couple practices and games but focused on his health.
“I read a lot of books,” Goodwin said. “I watched a lot of Netflix. I tried to stay involved. I have a son who’s playing. I got to all this games, which was one of the benefits.”
Dane Goodwin, a 6-foot-4 junior guard at Upper Arlington High School, verbally committed to Ohio State as a freshman.
For Damon, the hardest part of the fight against leukemia came at the start.
“Unfortunately for me, there were about four or five days where I didn’t know what kind of leukemia I had,” Goodwin said. “There’s a broad spectrum. I had the kind that’s very treatable.”
Goodwin credited his family and Capital University for supporting him. He also thanked his friends at UD. Dayton’s coaches wore ribbons at a game last season to support him.
“I had never met Archie (Miller),” Goodwin said. “I met him during the season. I went over to the Duquesne game and told him, ‘Thank you for doing that.’”
Goodwin’s health has been good since he beat the leukemia last spring. He still has to get checked out every couple of months and has an appointment next week.
“I still get tired, but what coach in America is not tired right now?” he joked.
Volleyball: Dayton left Wednesday for State College, Pa. The Flyers (30-1) play Pittsburgh (24-8) at 5 p.m. Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Penn State (22-9) and Long Island-Brooklyn (16-14) play in the second match at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winners play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the Sweet 16.
Women’s basketball: Dayton (2-4) lost 81-68 to Georgia Tech and 56-53 to Creighton in the Bahamas last weekend at the Junkanoo Jam. The Flyers host Morgan State (1-4) at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Flyers have four players averaging between 10.2 and 10.5 points per game: Jenna Burdette (10.5); Jayla Scaife (10.4); Kelley Austria (10.3); and Lauren Cannatelli (10.2).