Many local fans believe current Green Bay Packers running back DuJuan “Foxx” Harris is perhaps Central High’s most prominent alumnus.
He might be, but he certainly wasn’t the first ex-Bear to reach the NFL.
Tyrone Goodson, holding his son, 17-month-old Tyrone Jr., along with his girlfriend, Kristy Powell, and, from left, Powell’s daughters Hailey, 10, Lily, 7, and Goodson’s nephew, Cameron Goodson, 7. COURTESY PHOTO
Tyrone Demetrius Goodson, a 1993 CHS alumnus, is looked at as not only one of CHS’ original high-profile athletes, but one of Hernando County’s foremost.
The current 6-foot-3, 215-pound Goodson was a two-sport standout at CHS under football mentor Barry Gardner and veteran basketball skipper John Sedlack.
On the gridiron, Goodson was a two-way performer for the Bears playing quarterback – which he never played until his time at CHS – and free safety.
His athletic ability led to him being named as a junior and senior to the All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Team in 1991-92.
On the hardwood, the gazelle-like Goodson was named All-GCAC as a sophomore, junior and senior.
Goodson, who was widely known for his 40-plus inch vertical leap, was tabbed the GCAC’s Player of the Year in 1992-93.
He concluded his four-year prep career as not only the Bears’ all-time leading scorer, but Hernando County’s leading scorer.
In the ultimate sign of respect, Goodson’s No. 14 jersey was retired as was Harris’ No. 20 jersey following the 2006 season.
Goodson’s soft, pliable hands, tremendous jumping ability and his 4.3 40-yard time eventually yielded a football scholarship to Auburn University. He also wanted to play hoops at Auburn but his football coach, Terry Bowden, talked him out of it.
From 1993-97, Goodson racked up 136 career receptions for 2,283 yards – nearly a 17-yard per catch average – alongside 12 touchdowns.
Goodson latched on to two receptions for 78 yards (highlighted by a 30-yard touchdown reception) in Auburn’s Independence Bowl win in 1996 in Shreveport, La. over Army, 32-29.
In his final collegiate appearance, he snared four passes for 65 yards enabling 10-3 Auburn to solve 7-5 Clemson in the Jan. 2, 1998 Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Ga., 21-17.
After graduating in 1998, Goodson played sparingly for the St. Louis Rams, Packers and Washington Redskins. Problem was he blew out his left knee three times in three seasons.
These days, the 40-year-old Goodson has “settled down” in Ocala with his girlfriend of the past four years, Kristy Powell.
Their modern family consists of Powell’s two daughters: Hailey, 10, Lily, 7, and the couple’s 17-month-old latest arrival, Tyrone Goodson Jr.
The Goodson family lives on a 10-acre farm in Marion County that includes several horses, a rabbit and a cat.
Goodson was born as the oldest of three children in Brooksville. His mother, Lawanna Riggins, and grandmother, Annie Mae Goodson, continue to call Brooksville home.
As a young man, Goodson said, “I feel like I turned my life around.”
His grandmother and granddad, the late Leo Goodson, along with his aunt, Shirley Waddy, and her husband, John, along with his stepfather Sam Riggins have helped mold Goodson’s life – shielding him away from the troubled streets of south Brooksville.
These days, Goodson receives health benefits from the NFL for injuries he accrued during his short stint in professional ball.
He contends that he can “get around fine” but his days of playing hoops against the likes of NBA Hall of Famer Charley Barkley – a fellow Auburn graduate – are numbered.
To help give back something to children of the next generation, the ex-Bear formed the
Tyrone Goodson Youth and Sports Programs, Inc.
With an assist from neighborhood friend Richard Howell, Goodson’s charitable organization was recently granted its 501c3 tax-exempt status.
Goodson is touting the organization’s first-ever Christmas Mistletoe Ball on Dec. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
The program is asking area residents to come to the event and donate $20, and bring a toy for an underprivileged child this season.
The event serves as a fundraiser for next summer’s planned Goodson Football Camp in Brooksville. The camp is expected to run 1-2 days and Goodson is soliciting current and former NFL players to act as coaches.
Goodson hopes that December’s event will draw enough public support to run next summer’s camp at a minimal or no cost to the participants.
To date, Goodson’s efforts have attracted corporate sponsors like Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Sam’s Club, Winn Dixie along with a donation from Carlos and Keneisha Santiago from C.G. Transport, Inc.
According to Goodson, other sponsors are sought. For additional information, contact Patricia Goodson at (352) 346-6206 or email her at [email protected].
According to Goodson, the Christmas Mistletoe Ball’s purpose is to raise awareness of what he’s doing for the community for next year’s planned football camps.
In other current philanthropic gestures, Goodson is running the “Old St. Nick” organization in Marion County, which provides 20-40 children with toys during the holiday season, and “Keep the Faith,” which is donating 40 turkeys to area needy families.
Goodson defended his choice of direction, saying, “I’ve turned down a lot of jobs since my NFL days. Central High wanted me to coach. I don’t mind coaches, but I don’t necessarily like the coaching aspect, particularly through the school system.
“I see my calling as a person who tries to motivate kids. I’d like to teach my own kids the values of community service,” he added. “I don’t really care if Junior turns out to be a horse breeder. But I’d love for my kids to be humble and understand you receive so much more in return when you help others.
“I’ve been very blessed to have received tremendous coaching and support in Brooksville from Coach Gardner, Coach Sedlack and Coach (Steve) Crognale, just to name a few,” he said. “They had a lot to do with my success. I feel like it’s time for me to help others that are not as fortunate.”
Goodson’s takes his legacy serious.
“I busted my butt when I was at Central,” he recalled. “I’d say both Harris and I may be the best athletes to ever come out of Central. I’d like to be remembered as a guy who had a smile on his face, but played the game seriously.
“My mantra is to take it one day at a time and always plan for the future,” added Goodson. “Our kids are our future. I’d like to be remembered as giving something to others.”
By the numbers: Auburn’s Tyrone Goodson
REP YDS. AVG. TD
136 2,283 16.8 12