Lane ‘humble’ about reaching 200th win

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2000

Sports Writer

GOSHEN – In an era of constant change in the coaching profession on all levels in sports, loyalty to one school

is best way to describe Goshen High School boys’ head basketball coach Major Lane.

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Over the past eight years, Lane’s legacy throughout the Goshen community has grown each year on the hardwood because of his strong love for what he does on the court and as the assistant principal of GHS.

On Tuesday night, Lane added another item to his long list of accomplishments as the number four ranked Eagles (4-0, 2-0 in 2A Area 2

play) defeated the Straughn Tigers 85-73 in front of a packed house at Eagle Gym, claiming his 200th career victory.

What’s amazing is that all 200 wins by Lane have come at one school over a 7 1/2 year period. While many basketball coaches across the state have moved around over the years, Lane continues to strive

for the Eagles to reach their ultimate goal -making the Final Four in March at Birmingham’s Jefferson Civic Center and winning the school’s first ever basketball state championship.

While the long range goal is perfectly clear, Lane’s philosophy has always been taking things one day at a time and not worrying about circumstances beyond control by asking players to be

responsible on and off the court.

One of the major things that Lane has emphasized over the years is showing class on and off the court in victory or defeat. On road trips, it is not uncommon to see members of the GHS boys basketball team dressed in shirt and tie boarding the bus to any high school gym in the Wiregrass.

Lane said having tremendous role models around him throughout his life has made him the head coach he is today.

"When I thought about reaching this particular milestone, I thought about some of the people who have played a big role and inspired me to be the best coach and role model I could be for the kids," Lane said.

Over the years, Lane said he credits former Pike County Elementary principal Eddie K. Jones along with Alphonsa Byrd and Rev. George Gilchrist, Jr. of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Troy for molding him into a player’s coach who believes in tough love throughout his coaching career.

"George played a big role into showing me the type of leadership skills needed and the proper etiquette in dealing with adults and children," Lane said.

Since 1994, Lane has built the Eagles into one of the top small school basketball programs in the Wiregrass having won

six regular season area titles and one area tournament title (1996) while taking his team to five sub-state regionals, three Sweet 16 appearances and


Final Four

berth in 1996.

However, Lane said he knows the job of putting Goshen on the statewide roundball map is far from complete.

"I was taught that it’s important to set out your goals and achieve them," Lane said. "It says a lot when you can work hard at something and don’t stop until you reach them with obstacles in the way. Perseverance will overcome different circumstances. That’s what I install into my kids as a coach."

Another important person Lane said he thought about during the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game was his mother who is a diabetic living in Montgomery. Lane said his strong love for her keeps him going every day.

"Basically, she’s doing much better now and my thoughts and prayers are with her," Lane said. "It didn’t take long for her illness to occur. But she’s always bubbly and smiling and that motivates me to inspire someone else."

As far as other coaches that inspire him are concerned, Lane said his basic philosophy on the court is similar to Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson and Kentucky’s Tubby Smith which is to press, run, shoot and play great man-to-man half court defense using a tremendous amount of conditioning.

Over the past few years, however, Lane said he’s more impressed with Smith’s approach on and off the court which helped the Wildcats earn the 1998 national title.

"I’ve been a big time Kentucky fan for years watching (former UK) Coach (Rick) Pitino and Tubby Smith," Lane said. "Tubby persevered from a family of 12 children and he’s been a great inspiration for me."

Lane said another coach who he’s learned from is Atlanta Hawks head coach Lon Kruger. Kruger was former Goshen star Damien Maddox’s coach from 1995-97 at the University of Florida.

"Lon Kruger taught me how to be accountable with my players," Lane said. "I had a great opportunity to talk to him about doing things the right way such as dressing up on road trips and being like a team. We don’t just do it, we believe in it."

Before Tuesday night’s game against Straughn, Lane received a couple of phone calls from his two oldest daughters Arleshia (currently a junior at Huntingdon College playing basketball) and Melanie, who is a sophomore at Alabama State University in Montgomery. While neither of his daughters were unable to attend the Straughn game because of finals, Lane said he was very appreciative of them remembering the importance of the milestone.

However, the one group that felt the most pressure of earning Lane’s 200th win was the players. Lane said he is proud of the former and current players that have meant so much to him over the years.

"The players said they were happy for me," Lane said. "They said ‘we were going out to get it’ for me. Certainly it’s still early, but I’m proud of our young men because they are working hard toward our goal. I’m just happy to be a part of the community. Hopefully, the Good Lord will smile upon us."

Lane and the Eagles return to action tonight when they travel to Luverne to participate in the first round of the annual Southeast Alabama Conference Championship Tournament against either McKenzie or Highland Home. Tipoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m.