Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


If you compare commitment to a goal, and the records concerning success in achieving a goal, there’s little argument that Marion Local football coach Tim Goodwin is the gold standard for our inaugural Press Pros Sportsman of The Year recognition.

Out of the mouths of babes, they say, often come the best of ideas, or in this case, a suggestion.

So it was following the recent state football tournament when an inveterate Press Pros reader wrote to say, “You write a lot of opinions about worthy and interesting topics. Have you every considered highlighting an outstanding local sports figure of the year?”

It was, and is, an excellent suggestion, because it is what we do.  And best, it provides an opportunity that allows for both subjective and objective analysis. And the person who can withstand both would certainly be a candidate worthy of such recognition.

Perhaps more noteworthy, in the sports-crazy market serviced by Press Pros, there are so many candidates, and worthy ones, to spark the argument from year to year:  “Why this one, and not that one?” It is, for our part, the perfect suggestion.

And given some obvious criteria about commitment to one’s profession, commitment to a goal, and the record concerning success in achieving that goal, there cannot be a more worthy selection for the inaugural Sportsman of The Year honoree on this website…than Marion Local football coach Tim Goodwin.

As for records, his recent victory in the 2016 Division VI title game over Cuyahoga Heights marked his ninth state title, and fifth in the last six years…in 18 years as head coach at Marion Local.

More, his teams have finished as runners-up twice (’03 and 2015), for an unprecedented mark of having been in the championship game in eleven of his eighteen years as coach – 61% of the time. No high school coach in the state of Ohio even comes close to that record for that period.  And perhaps the most impressive, his overall winning percentage in post-season is so ridiculously high that it may never be matched in the same length of tenure.

But it’s his unwavering personality and commitment to achievement that makes Goodwin immediately special to those who meet him and have the opportunity to observe his pattern of consistency.

He is, by training, a math teacher, schooled in the facts of what works. 2 plus 2 equals four with Tim Goodwin, and there’s never room for compromise. It is, in modern vernacular, what it is.

“Leugers” is proud to congratulate Coach Tim Goodwin as Press Pros 2016 Sportsman of The Year.

“Leugers” is proud to congratulate Coach Tim Goodwin as Press Pros 2016 Sportsman of The Year.

He is, by way of occupational goal, a school administrator, moving from the classroom to high school principal at Marion three years ago. Nothing changed, as his experience in putting people, staff and students alike, in the right position for success carried over from his experience as educator and coach.

There is the frequent lament from rival schools outside Mercer County and the MAC community, and from those jealous of the Flyers’ success, that Goodwin gets to work with a select constituency of student athletes at Marion. But the fact is I’ve snooped around Marion Local High School for a decade and have observed that they’re the same kids, in talent and potential, that you find in every community. They just have a different model to follow. Tim Goodwin is in large part responsible for that.

It’s a community culture based on two-parent homes, a culture based on character and success, and one that demands work and participation. Goodwin seized upon that formula long ago, and set those demands as the cornerstone of his football program. What’s expected at home is expected there. There’s no gimmes. You work for what you get.

And it is, by the way, what keeps the state’s most intriguing prospect for bigger and better coaching jobs, right at Marion Local.

“Why would I want to leave?” he said two years ago in an exclusive Press Pros feature. “I have everything I need to be successful and happy right here.”

He’s won with all types, shapes, sizes, and talents.

He’s won with multiple strategies and styles of play – sprint draw, option, and spread offenses.

And he’s won with having but one scholarship player to date that’s gone on to play at college football’s highest level, quarterback Adam Bertke (Class of 2014).

Moeller Brew Barn is proud to sponsor coverage of "THE MAC" on Press Pros

Moeller Brew Barn congratulates Marion coach Tim Goodwin, the 2016 Press Pros Sportsman of The Year.

He’s won by emphasizing commitment, toughness, responsibility, and expectation. There is no such thing as settling for second best at Marion.

The Flyers were driving for what seemed to be a second half touchdown that would have iced a fifth consecutive title win 2015 with a win over Kirtland in the Div. VI title game. But a fumble at the goal line was recovered by the Hornets, who turned that turnover and opportunity into comeback and an eventual 22-20 win.

“I can handle losing,” Goodwin would say afterwards. “But it’s the ‘way’ we lose that bothers me.”

“They used to say as good a bet as U.S. Steel,” said an tournament representative following Marion’s fourth consecutive title win in 2014, over Norwalk St. Paul. “You could probably say the same about Tim Goodwin and Marion Local.”

With congratulations from Press Pros Magazine…we’re pleased to recognize Marion Local’s Tim Goodwin as our 2016 Sportsman of The Year.

The 2016 Division VI champion Marion Local Flyers

The 2016 Division VI champion Marion Local Flyers


“Moeller Trucking” is proud to sponsor coverage of "The MAC" on Press Pros

“Moeller Trucking” congratulates Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin as the 2016 Press Pros Sportsman of The Year.