“I was blindsided and now will be forced to retire. I have given my entire adult life which is 44 years to WMC and feel privileged to have touched so many young lives. God has blessed me with so many great athletes and team-oriented players.”

By Mike Mattson

Legendary basketball coach Jim Goorman and Western Michigan Christian High School are parting company.

And it’s not Goorman’s choice.

Goorman confirmed Tuesday that he was not asked to return as boys varsity basketball coach after serving the private school for 44 years, including 33 as head coach.

Goorman, who did not sign contracts to coach basketball, became concerned when there were no discussions with school officials about his status. Eventually, Goorman learned he would not be coaching next school year.

“I was blindsided,” the 66-year-old Goorman said. “I asked the question, ‘Am I coaching next year?’ I asked the question and that’s how I was blindsided. I was surprised to hear it.”

WMC principal Doug Doty did not return phone calls Thursday from his office or home. School board president Scott Meyers also opted not to comment, citing personal matters involving employees.

Goorman, who was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan last October, is the winningest basketball coach in Muskegon history with 510 victories.

He led the Warriors to five state titles (1992, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010), three state runner-up finishes (1980, 1993, 2000) and one other spot in the state semifinals. His teams won numerous district and regional championships.

“We always expected to win a state championship,” Goorman said. “If you dream high and dream big good things happen.”

Goorman is not bitter as he winds down his association with WMC at this week’s youth basketball camp.

“I have been blessed,” Goorman said. “I’ve been blessed with all of the friends I’ve made and coaches I’ve gone against and respected.

“I’ve been blessed with great athletes. These are the guys who made me look good. I feel good that I’ve been a father figure to many kids at our school over the years. I feel good about kids who come to me about advice.”

Goorman also taught sociology, physical education, health and Bible classes at WMC and served last year as a part-time athletic director.

Overall, Goorman coached 43 years of basketball, 26 years of baseball and two years of softball at WMC.

“I was a lifer,” Goorman said. “I truly love the kids and I truly love competition. I will miss the contact with the kids more than the competition.”

Goorman will continue working as the co-founder of the popular summer American Youth Basketball Tour. He’s not sure what else is in his future, but it likely could entail basketball.

“We as Christians believe everything happens for a reason, so something else will replace this,” said Goorman, who is a graduate of Holland Christian, Calvin College and Western Michigan (masters). “You don’t know how long you will live so you have to make the most of your time and moments while you’re here.

“My family has always been my biggest supporter as a teacher and coach. They have been great. We’ve always been involved with basketball as a family.

“It’s mind boggling to do so much with so many people who played a part in it. It’s a family of players and coaches who made this adventure. So I’ll go from one adventure to another. It’s been a wonderful ride.”