By Maurice Patton
After wearing purple and gold throughout his high school and collegiate football career, Tra’Darius Goff will have to update his wardrobe for his next gridiron step.
Arguably one of the best to ever suit up at Columbia Central – he’s one of three Lions to have their number retired – Goff will join Kit Hartsfield’s coaching staff at Mt. Pleasant.
“I’d been wanting to get into coaching for some time,” Goff said this week. “He reached out, we had about a 30-minute conversation and that just sealed it as far as what I wanted to do in terms of starting my coaching career.
“I’ve heard good things about the athletics there.”
Goff, 27, has been involved in personal training locally since completing his degree in exercise science and physical wellness at Tennessee Tech – where he graduated as the Golden Eagles’ third all-time leading tackler while starting for three seasons and earning first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference honors.
His collegiate success mirrored that of his high school career, where he started all but one game at Central and capped his reign as the offensive and defensive most valuable player in the 2010 Class 5A state championship as the Lions defeated Hendersonville 28-7.
“Tra’Darius is a very well respected individual, not only locally but across the state,” Hartsfield said. “He’s got great relational skills. He was a fantastic player. He brings a great deal of energy and leadership to the table. He’s got great references – from (former Tennessee Tech coach) Watson Brown, from Gardner-Webb coach Tre Lamb.
“He’s somebody you’d want your kids to play for. He’s perceived as a great man in the community. He’s an enormous addition to the school and the program.”
Goff said previous efforts to join the coaching staff at Columbia Central fell short.
“I don’t think the situation was right, as far as me trying to get into coaching and get paid,” he said. “I don’t feel like the opportunity was there for me. But I’m always going to bleed purple and gold.”
Goff is the first step as Hartsfield looks to complete his staff.
“I’m still waiting for a couple of chips to fall, and then it will all fall into place pretty quickly,” Hartsfield said.
Maurice Patton is the editor of SM-Tn Sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MoPatton_Sports.