Terry Goodman gets on his wetsuit and jumps in the water. Even at 53 years old and recovering from cracked ribs, Goodman won’t stop water skiing.
“He’s still a kid at heart really — just has fun with us out there every day,” junior and Western Washington University's tournament waterski team captain Conrad Dahl said.
The team took second place at the national tournament Oct. 17 to 19 — a feat many believe would not be possible without the help of Goodman, the team’s coach.
Goodman has been coaching the Western team since it was formed in the late ‘90s. He is a local, national and international figure in the waterski community, and has helped coach teams from the United States, Canada, Greece, France, England and the United Arab Emirates.
Goodman was a judge at the National Collegiate Waterski Association’s 2013 national tournament — a role he had to juggle while coaching Western’s team at the same time.
Members of the team say Western’s success in collegiate water skiing is directly related to Goodman’s role as coach, and it is not because he is also a judge.
“Without him we would probably not be the club that we are,” freshman skier Jaye Morris said. “We would not have gotten second at nationals. We might not even be a club at all.”
Goodman and his friends dug out Borderline Lake, where the team spends a lot of its time practicing. The five-to-seven-foot deep lake was once a gravel pit for Interstate 5 before Goodman found it in the early ‘80s. Prior to that, the team only practiced on public water, but realized they needed a private lake to stay competitive in tournaments.
“It’s kind of like the football team practicing in the parking lot,” Goodman said with a laugh. “My cousin had the excavators and we just started digging.”
Goodman recruited Morris, who is originally from San Diego, to come to Western and join the team. Goodman skied with Morris’ mother in college and has been a friend of the family for years.
In nationals, Morris scored the best overall for women, while her brother, Robert Morris, a student at San Diego State University, scored the best overall for men.
“I used to come up and train with [Goodman] as my coach every summer,” Jaye Morris said. “He introduced me to Western, and I really liked it, so I decided to come here.”
Goodman was recruited for collegiate water skiing in 1979. He received a water skiing scholarship to the University of Louisiana Monroe, previously called Northeast Louisiana University at the time he attended.
“It’s the Alabama of water skiing,” Goodman said of his alma mater.
Some schools in the South, like ULM, may offer large scholarships for water skiers, and often recruit world-class talent. Western’s team does not offer scholarships, but has carved out a spot among the elite water skiing schools in the U.S.
Goodman compared the campus of ULM to Western’s such as walking through Red Square toward Buchanan Towers, but that whole path is a bayou.
“It’s a waterway that runs right through the middle of the school, and [a group] got permission to ski there and they started a team,” Goodman said.
Goodman’s love for water skiing has pushed him to become a national champion. He won his first national title in 1979 with a broken wrist and two bruised heels. Now 53, he recently won the 2013 national competition for his age division with a pelvis that is still broken from a ski jump accident years ago.
“He’s super passionate about the sport and the industry,” Dahl said.
Although he still gets a thrill from skiing, especially jumping, Goodman loves the fact that water skiing is a family-driven sport.
“If you have kids who play soccer or softball or whatever, you go watch your kid play,” Goodman said. “This is one of those sports where you go watch your kid participate, but you also can participate at the same time, and it’s at the same place.”
The Goodman family has lived on Lake Samish since 1927, and water skiing on it for the majority of that time. Goodman’s parents introduced him to the sport at age 4. His family once skied in a traveling team that toured the country and put on water ski shows.
Eventually they got involved in tournament water skiing in the 60s. John Goodman, Terry Goodman’s father, is still involved in the tournament scene at 80 years old and was director of USA Waterski for 16 years. Terry’s mother still water skis at age 78. Ron Goodman, a math major at University of Washington and Terry Goodman’s younger brother, revolutionized ski jumping in the mid-’90s by redesigning jump skis to work proportionally with a jumper’s weight.
The world-class jump skis Ron Goodman builds landed Terry Goodman in the United Arab Emirates, a country in the Middle East which borders Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The UAE’s national water ski team ordered skis from Rob Goodman’s company, Goodman Skis, and asked if he knew anyone who could coach the team.
He certainly knew his brother Terry when their father, the athletic director at Sehome High School, proposed the Physical Education department teach water sports like sailing, canoeing and water skiing on Lake Samish.
Goodman has since been to the UAE multiple times, where he has taught water skiing in a harbor in the Persian Gulf.
Goodman’s next adventure includes taking a six-person collegiate all-star team to compete in Japan in June. He plans to compete in the senior division regional, national and world tournaments in the summer.
After that, Goodman said he plans to keep water skiing until he no longer can.