While new Augusta GreenJackets manager Mike Goff was playing in the Boston Red Sox system, the thought of eventually coaching never entered his mind.
Not even after Goff underwent career-ending back surgery.
It took pressure from an Alabama college program to discover coaching is where he belongs.
Goff was drafted by the Red Sox in the 21st round in 1984 out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He got off to a solid start as a pro, hitting .296 with 12 home runs and a .911 OPS in short-season A-ball. After a down year in his first full season in Class-A, Goff repeated the level in 1986 with Greensboro in the South Atlantic League. He hit .292 with seven home runs and advanced to Double-A to end the season.
Goff never returned to Double-A and was out of baseball after 31 games in 1987.
“Back surgery ended my career, and I didn’t have any ambition to be a coach,” Goff said. “Once I had surgery and had children, I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ It left a bitter taste to have my career end by injury. There were what-ifs.
“The coaches (at South Alabama) were bugging me (to coach), so I said I’ll do it. The first day out there I realized it’s what I’m doing the rest of my life.”
Goff, who is originally from Mobile, Ala., spent three years as an assistant at South Alabama before coaching at Double-A Jacksonville. His managerial experience includes Double-A Chattanooga and three years with the Arizona League Giants from 2009-2011.
Goff has spent the most amount of time in the Seattle Mariners organization, including nine years as coordinator of instruction for the team’s minor league system. He also has experience as the Mariners’ first base coach and bench coach.
However, despite reaching the majors as a coach, Goff acknowledged the minor leagues is where he feels most comfortable.
“I enjoy the younger ages,” he said. “It’s totally different with younger kids in A-ball and how to handle them. They keep me young. They have a tremendous passion to play the game. Their energy and enthusiasm makes the game a lot of fun.”
As manager of the GreenJackets, Goff will return to the South Atlantic League for the first time since playing for Greensboro in 1986, and he’s thrilled to see older parks still in the league. He also said he’s excited to be a part of an organization that has won two of the past three World Series.
“This is my fourth year with the Giants, and it’s a great organization,” he said. “Obviously, I came at the right time. They’re at the top in every aspect. I can’t say enough positive things.
“Our job is to develop players for the major league club, that’s No. 1. No. 2 is winning, and that’s a very close second for me. We want to put players in a winning environment, to develop faster and improve faster.”