Back at this time in 1996, Derik Goffena was preparing to quarterback the Sidney Yellow Jackets to a solid 7-3 football campaign that fell just short of the playoffs. The following spring would bring his final Sidney season of his favorite sport of baseball, which was then and remains today synonymous with the Goffena name in Sidney.
Derik was a great hitting shortstop who attracted wide big time college recruiting interest with a “top 100” national designation by Baseball America. He took the offer of Georgia Tech in Atlanta and enjoyed a fine four-year career as a regular, primarily as a first baseman and designated hitter.
I spent much time in Atlanta in those days and saw many of his games. I also took in an exhibition where Tech met the Atlanta Braves at their Disney Orlando spring training ballpark in Florida. I’ll always remember seeing Derik hold future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones on first base as I thought, “This is cool. That guy with Chipper Jones is from Sidney and I know him.”
Testament to the ultra high-level of Georgia Tech baseball is that teammate Mark Teixeira was a national college player of the year before hitting 409 major league homers with 1,298 RBIs. Yes, Derik Goffena played with the big boys and more than held his own.
That chapter ended his playing days but he then got into teaching and coaching at Garner Magnet High School in Garner, North Carolina (near Raleigh in central NC). He was junior varsity coach in 2002 and 2003 before becoming head coach in 2004 where he remains.
His varsity coaching resume’ is quite impressive with an overall record of 287-149, eight conference titles, and four trips to the state final eight including a final four berth. Eighty-seven of Derik’s players have gone on to college baseball including one now at powerhouse Oklahoma State. A 2023 scholarship recruit will be heading to North Carolina State a year from now.
The end of his coaching tenure will not come soon but may be in sight. Goffena has a talented son now in the eighth grade and the plan is to keep coaching at least until the class of 2027 graduates. At that time, he says a thorough evaluation will be in order.
Appropriately, the Goffena family receives an ongoing salute as Sidney’s first family of baseball via the Goffena Training Facility, strategically located between the SHS baseball field and Sidney Memorial Stadium. The impressive structure opened in 2019 and is utilized by many Sidney sports along with the community.
Though Derik Goffena lives and works over 500 miles from his original home, the family still has someone on duty in the neighborhood just referenced. Former Yellow Jacket and brother Thomas Goffena is the head baseball coach at Sidney High School which just finished a 17-9 season after a 20-9 mark in 2021. Looks like the training facility is paying some dividends.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. That title is inspired by a Dave Ross radio show of the 1980’s.