Former Shrine football coach dies

By: C & G Sports Staff | Royal Oak Review | Published March 11, 2020

 John Goddard led Royal Oak Shrine football from 1993 to 2017. Goddard died March 2 at the age of 74.

John Goddard led Royal Oak Shrine football from 1993 to 2017. Goddard died March 2 at the age of 74.

File photo by Donna Agusti


ROYAL OAK — Catholic High School League Hall of Fame coach John Goddard died March 2 at the age of 74.

For more than two decades, he was a fixture on the sideline for Royal Oak Shrine football.

Goddard led the program from 1993 to 2017. He was also the school’s athletic director from 2014 to 2018.

Goddard had just three losing seasons with the Knights, and beginning in 1999, he took Shrine to the playoffs 16 times in 18 years.

That included a 12-year streak from 2003 to 2014 in which the Knights went to the postseason every fall.

Goddard ended his tenure with the program with a 162-88 record that included three district titles and three Prep Bowl championships.

In total, he coached for 50 years, most recently as an assistant coach with Farmington High. He amassed 255 career victories, which puts him at No. 24 for all-time victories in the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Goddard was a 1963 graduate of Shrine and then moved on to play football at Northwood University before coming back to Shrine as an assistant coach.

In 1975, he took over at Hamtramck Immaculate Conception for a single season before accepting the head coaching position at Redford St. Agatha. He spent 17 years there, amassing some 92 wins before the job at his alma mater opened.

“I always knew I wanted to coach, but I didn’t know it’d be at Shrine,” Goddard told C & G Sports in 2016. “I was very happy at St. Agatha. We had a great thing going. But things fell into place here. It was exciting to go back to where you came from.”

CHSL Director Vic Michaels said Goddard was a mentor to many coaches, and his teams always played disciplined.

“They were always in the game because of him and his staff and what they did to prepare them,” Michaels said. “He was really a remarkable coach.”

Michaels noted that he was also a remarkable man.

“He was fun to be around, whether he was talking football or about Shrine schools or anything else,” Michaels said. “He was a great guy to be around, and you could tell that by all his assistants who just adored the guy, whether they were coaching or not. He was a good man. We lost a good one.”

In 2016, Goddard was asked how he’d like to be remembered when looking back on his career.

“As a coach that gave it everything I had,” he said. “Because I’ll know those kids gave me everything they had.”