Thornton’s intensity contagious at Goshen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2000

Sports Editor

Goshen High School head football coach Joe Thornton brought something with him when he arrived on the scene a year ago to coach the Eagles and it’s a little thing called intensity.

The proof is in the pudding, so they say, and if starting the school’s power lifting program up from scratch last summer and winning the Class 3A State Powerlifting championship in his first full year as a coach isn’t proof enough, then just wait until the Eagles take the field in the fall of 2000.

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The first-year coach came into a situation where Goshen barely had the equipment to work out on to begin with, added a few benches and to this day still doesn’t have what many schools would feel is adequate workout space.

From that meager beginning, Thornton and the Eagles used hard work, sweat and tears to mold a championship, something the coach was telling his team could happen all along if they just put their heads down and went to work.

"When I came in I started talking about giving this a chance," Thornton said. "I told them that faith is belief without proof. I couldn’t prove to them then that it would make a difference, but I told them if they believed in me and worked hard, then I promised it would pay off. They did that and it worked.

"It started in the summer and we were pretty short of people early," he added. "Me and the other coaches went beating the bushes and getting them from home to get them in here. But once you got them in here and they saw what we were doing they started taking a lot of pride in what they were doing. They worked their butts off."

Thornton and his crew of Eagles started last summer and even had to work in a field house that had no air conditioning. Temperatures would rise to around 110 degress, but the kids continued to show up and workout three days a week, alternating two days in for running and agility drills.

"That showed me right there that they have a lot of guts," Thornton said. "These are really aggressive kids and good kids. I knew if you could focus that, get them on the weights and get them stronger then good things were going to happen, and very soon."

With that kind of intensity and that kind of drive, the future of Goshen Atletics looks very good and has a lot of people talking, especially about the fall season to come.

The coach says that winning a state championship in power lifting is just a start. It’s where Goshen begins it’s journey that will carry them through football season and beyond. And when the time comes to put it on the field, they will be more than ready.

"You get the intensity, the mental toughness and the strength too when your kids train like this," Thornton said. "You’re getting all three of those things plus when a kid goes out on that field and it’s fourth quarter it will be harder for him to quit and give up because he’s been in that weight room. He’s worked and sweat and bled and given up a lot of his self to be a part of that. You’re going to get more wins from those kids than you are losses."