Reader offers his support for Coach Duckworth

My name is Bert Goddard and I am a 1978 graduate of Marietta High School. For the past 26 years, I have been fortunate to work for a company that helps schools and Booster clubs raise funds primarily for extracurricular activities. Over the past several years, I have served as chairman of the Marietta Alumni and Friends foundation, and I am on the board of the Marietta Athletic Hall of Fame. I am a proud Marietta Tiger and a proud member of our community.

I am writing today in support of Coach Mark Duckworth and what I have witnessed since he took over the boys basketball program three years ago. Duckworth is quick to analyze any situation and moves quickly to find a resolution to any problems that exist. Let me give you a few examples of what I have witnessed:

1. When Duckworth took over the program uniforms were discolored, did not match, and no warm ups existed for any grade level. He set a plan, worked his plan, and with the help of many volunteers and donations within two years all uniforms have been replaced and we now have warm ups for all grade levels.

2. There was no working shower for game officials and no private dressing room. Duckworth evaluated the situation, set a plan, worked his plan, and with the help of many volunteers we now have a first class dressing room and shower for our officials.

3. The middle school concession stand was in horrible condition. Duckworth evaluated the space, set a plan, worked the plan, and with his business contacts and volunteers, we now have custom cabinets, a granite counter top, and a tile floor in a first class concession stand.

4. When Duckworth took over the program the youth league feeder program was in bad shape. Duckworth evaluated the needs, set a plan, worked his plan, recruited new board members, and we now have the best youth basketball program in the area.

5. When Duckworth took over the program we had no summer program in place for grades six through 12. Under his leadership he started a summer league which had 27 teams last summer and our Marietta kids played 350 games from grades six through 12. The school contributes zero dollars to the summer program so Duckworth had to raise all of the needed funds. He did not complain, he simply went about doing what was best for our kids and our program.

It is easy to see that Coach Duckworth is a man of action. I have been fortunate to be able to help him honor some of our greatest basketball teams of all time. We have honored the 1979 C.O.L. champions, the 1968 district champions, and the 1961-63 teams that were champions. Coach brings these men to the locker room and they speak to our kids about Tiger tradition. It is very emotional and it is obvious how much these people care. I am most proud of the way that Coach Duckworth cares about our alumni and he cares about his players and their families. He is the only coach I have seen at Marietta that seeks to tie our current players to our alumni and community. This is worth its weight in gold to those of us who care.

I was also pleased to help Duckworth set up a night of Honor our Veterans. He has had his players write essays about what Veterans Day means, and he constantly reminds them about how important our military people are to our great country.

Duckworth has set up great money makers by establishing a preview with Warren, a charity foundation game with Morgan, and the very successful Ohio/West Virginia challenge that involved 12 high schools. Duckworth had a plan, worked his plan, rallied volunteers and helpers, and put on a first class event.

Coach Duckworth has implemented a show box ministry program and also holds team dinners at homes and local churches where life lessons are taught by various pastors in our city. Isn’t that what we want our children to be exposed to?

His family has been in Marietta for five generations. They have a long history of helping our FFA program through Duckworth Farms. The family volunteers for anything and everything if it is for the benefit or our youth or others. I have witnessed this grace on many occasions and I am honored to count Duckworth and his family as friends.

Duckworth and his family have sacrificed family vacations and time together due to his commitment to Tiger basketball. How many people do you know that are willing to make this sacrifice? I know Duckworth’s dedication, his loyalty, his worth ethics, and his commitment to our youth. He runs a model program and a program that all of our alumni and community can be proud of.

I strongly urge our elected school board to direct our administration to reach a speedy and quick resolution. We have already lost a month of open gym and our vital summer program is now in jeopardy. If you take a look at the body of work, this is a no brainer. We can’t afford to lose another Tiger alumni who is willing to sacrifice so much for our children. Get together and work it out and let’s keep Tiger basketball and our athletic department moving forward!

Bert Goddard

Alumni and friends chairman, Hall of Fame committee