The bench sentenced Bill Goebig to a full life term.
No chance of parole.
“The thing with basketball is — I always say this to the guys — when I don’t enjoy going to practice every day, or I don’t get the feeling like I get before the first game of the season, then I know that it is time for me to go,” Goebig said. “And right now, I’m still there.”
Still keyed up the morning after opening night of the high school basketball season, it is clear that Goebig still has plenty of time to run on his sentence on the Roman Catholic bench. The Cahillites beat Plymouth Whitemarsh to start the season 1-0.
Goebig grew up in Fishtown and eventually played his high school ball at North Catholic. He began coaching in the CYO ranks at Mother of Divine Grace in Port Richmond when his own kids were young. His success drew the attention of Roman coach Chris McNesby. That was 13 years ago.
“Chris hired me as an assistant freshman coach,” Goebig said. “The following year, I got promoted to head JV coach. I coached JV for about three or four years, maybe probably closer to three, and then I was an assistant varsity coach from that point on.”
Goebig has become Roman’s secret weapon.
“Bill completely jumped into coaching high school basketball at a pretty good level,” McNesby said. “He was going all in for all facets of the program. What makes him special is that he’s just so humble. He’s so willing to do whatever is needed. No job is too small for him. As a head coach, he is what your dream is to have as an assistant.”
It hasn’t always been easy.
Assistant high school basketball coach isn’t actually a career, especially not for a family man. Early on in his tenure, Goebig had a career of his own.
A day job. But not really.
“The last 10 years of my career as a Teamster, I worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News,” Goebig said. “My shift started at 1:15 in the morning. When I got home from work, it was probably somewhere around like 8:30 or 9 in the morning. I’d do a few things at the house. Maybe grab a quick nap then I was back out of the house at 2 for practice.”
And that was a good day. After practice, Goebig typically had a chance to get a couple of leisurely hours sleep before work. On some game nights, a catnap in the parking lot of the Conshohocken plant was the best coach Goebig could hope for.
“I think he’s been retired from his job for almost five years,” McNesby said. “Prior to that, he’d be working overnight driving a truck. Sometimes if things got intense, we would have a practice the next day at noon and he might be going off for three, four hours asleep. It just shows his dedication, his love for helping young people and being a part of something that he thinks is pretty special.”
Now retired, he can devote himself to family and basketball full time. For as long as his basketball lifer sentence lasts.
The rewards are incalculable.
“You see these kids come in as freshmen or even earlier sometimes, they come into the program and they’re little kids,” Goebig said. “They’re learning and they’re wide-eyed and, as the years go on, they mature. They go on to their own success stories. We hope we have a small part of that.”