By Chris Baldwin
Football teams are organizations full of moving parts: a stampede of players, a long list of personnel — at the top lies the head coach. A head coach in any sport must be a strong leader with years of experience to help their organization play to the best of their ability. At the head of the College’s Football program is Coach Casey Goff.
Getting to Know Coach Goff
Goff currently lives in the Ewing area with his wife, 4-year old son, and three dogs. He enjoys spending time with his family and says that being a good father and husband is his No. 1 priority. He also enjoys going to the gym to lift weights in his free time.
He is a native of northeast Pennsylvania where he grew up in a small town called Montrose. Goff attended Montrose High School where he played football, and continued playing football at Susquehanna University. He started out as a fullback, but later transitioned to a linebacker and defensive lineman. Immediately after his four years, he spent a season as a student-assistant linebackers coach at Susquehanna University — his coaching career began there.
“I’ve been around the block in terms of my 19-year coaching career,” Goff said.
His first job proceeding the student assistant coaching position was as a defensive line coach for Muhlenberg College as well as a high school football coach in the Lehigh Valley area. From there he moved between several schools as a defensive line coach for Cortland State, Salve Regina, King's College, Defiance College, and many others before landing at the College as a head coach.
“I saw an opportunity at TCNJ when I saw the head coaching job was open. A big part of me wanted to get back to the east coast, but that wasn’t the only thing that appealed to me. I’ve always known about the NJAC in terms of football prominence, but I also knew TCNJ’s reputation in athletics. I thought it was a place where we could do good things and where we could utilize the academics and all the other pluses that I think separate TCNJ from other institutions in the region.”
After his fourth season as the Lions’ head coach, Coach Goff recognized that the team has had its struggles over the past few years, but is optimistic for the future. Coach Goff and his staff have put a strong focus on recruiting quality players as well as enhancing the team’s strength and conditioning programs as well as implementing new offensive and defensive strategies. He is hopeful that the system he has put into place over the past few years will finally start to pay off for the program.
“We know where this program is going to be,” Goff said. “Now we’re at that point where our first recruiting classes are now the upperclassmen, and everyone who’s been a part of this new formula are now the guys that are within the program.”
The NJAC competition is not taken lightly. Coach Goff feels that the NJAC is an extremely competitive conference full of strong teams. He said each week the team must be prepared to “duke it out” and that it’s important for the team to maintain the attitude that “every week is going to be a battle.”
Just because the team has to play quality football in order to succeed in NJACs doesn’t mean Coach Goff and his staff can’t have their sights set on an NJAC championship. In fact, the whole coaching staff is confident that a championship is a feasible goal in the years to come.
“We’re here to win the NJAC championship. No doubt about it. That’s our goal,” Goff said. “We know we’re on track to do that, to be a team that’s competing on a regular basis at the top of this conference, and now we’ve gotta go show it.”
Since receiving tenure, Goff has put a strong emphasis on enhancing the team’s recruiting process. First and foremost, Coach Goff and his staff values players who are committed to academics. They are also interested in character and skill level as they make a point to talk to each potential recruit’s high school coach about the player, as well as watch their film to get a gauge on their athletic ability.
Coach Goff and his staff also value a player’s dedication, seeking out players who are willing to work for success in order to thrive at the next level and are committed to a full four years at the College.
“We’re going to have 35 seniors going into 2021, and that’s huge,” Goff said. “We’re targeting the kids who make sense for us and the kids that are doing a tremendous job at making us a better program.”
Coach Goff’s main coaching philosophy is simply “be better.” In four years, he expects the players to become better athletes, better students, and better men overall by the time they leave. Another motto he spreads throughout his program is to do things “For the Jersey.” This idea encourages players to work to make the reputation and standard of being a Lion’s football player better.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the football program as last season was canceled and workouts have not yet been able to resume. He thinks his players have done a great job of working out on their own, but he definitely misses the ability to be in the weight room and out on the field together. This spring semester, however, the team is allowed to start working out again under strict safety regulations.
“We’re pumped for the opportunity to put the pads on for a few weeks in March and April,” Goff said. “I think our administration has done a tremendous job to make that happen, and we’re grateful for that.”