Ex-Cat Goode's journey to Kentucky Hall all about 'the people'

LOUISVILLE — Long before Boone County High School featured a future National Football League MVP in Shaun Alexander, the Rebels produced another NFL standout: Irv Goode.

Goode, who went from Boone County to the University of Kentucky, was among five players honored during Thursday's ring ceremony for the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame, held at Churchill Downs.

Also honored were Chad Bratzke, Roman Oben, Otis Wilson and Coy Bacon. Induction ceremonies will take place Friday night at the Louisville Palace Theater.

A two-way player in college and an offensive lineman in the pros, Goode didn't have the notoriety that would follow Alexander as a tailback.

Insiders noticed, though.

A first-round draft pick of the old St. Louis Cardinals in 1962, Goode twice earned Pro Bowl honors. He played for three NFL teams from 1962 through 1974, winning a Super Bowl with the 1973 Miami Dolphins.

Boone County plays its home games on Irv Goode Field.

"This is awesome," he said of Thursday's ceremony.

Now 72, Goode lives with wife Anne in the city where he spent most of his NFL career, St. Louis. In the insurance business, he says he's ready to retire at the end of the year and play more golf.

At UK, Goode played under Blanton Collier, for whom the Kentucky Pro Football Hall names its sportsmanship award.

"Great man," Goode said. "The award these guys give for his teaching — that was one of the great things that he did. ... I learned a lot."

A center and linebacker at UK, Goode played tackle, guard and backup center in the pros.

The Cardinals drafted him to play center. But while he went through drills for the old College All-Star Game in Chicago, injuries knocked out the top two centers on the depth chart. Not able to wait for Goode to arrive in camp, St. Louis moved Bob DeMarco from guard to center.

When Goode arrived, two tackles went down within the first two days and he was moved from backup center to starting tackle.

"It feels kind of good that they can trust you to play the different positions," he said, "but it took a lot of work."

He moved to guard the following season, and also was a backup center.

What he remembers most about his playing days is, he says, "the people."

"It was great to play in a Super Bowl with the Miami Dolphins. ... But it's always the people. I can remember the college games when we played LSU and Mississippi and trying to (defend) Billy Cannon, and then going into the pros and playing against Bob Lilly. It was such fun to do it."


The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct five new members Friday night in Louisville:

Chad Bratzke: Bratzke played for Eastern Kentucky. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Kodak All-American. Selected in the fifth round of the 1994 draft, he played 10 seasons in the NFL, five for the New York Giants (1994-1998) and five for the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2003).

Irv Goode: Goode was born in Newport and played college football for Kentucky. Drafted into the NFL in the first round in 1962, he played guard for the St. Louis Cardinals (1962-1971), the Buffalo Bills (1972) and the Miami Dolphins (1973-1974).

Coy Bacon: Bacon was born in Cadiz and played defensive line at Jackson State. Drafted into the NFL in 1968, he played for the Los Angeles Rams (1968-1975), San Diego Chargers (1973-1975), Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1977), Washington Redskins (1978-1981) and the USFL's Washington Federals (1983). He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1972, 1976 and 1977.

Roman Oben: Oben played offensive tackle for Louisville. He was picked in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft, and played for the New York Giants (1996-1999). He went on to play for the Cleveland Browns (2000-2003), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2003) and San Diego Chargers (2004-2007). He was the starting left tackle on Tampa Bay's 2002 Super Bowl champion team.

Otis Wilson: Wilson played linebacker for Louisville after transferring from Syracuse. He was drafted in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft and played for the Chicago Bears (1980-1987) and Los Angeles Raiders (1989). He won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1985 Bears.