At the Vilonia Eagle Basketball Foundation (VEBF) banquet and awards ceremony held at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, at Friendship Baptist Church coaches praised athletes and handed out awards. However, it was the guest speaker, Vilonia basketball coach Tim Goers’ father, who offered advice regarding the purpose of the play.
Retired Coach Steve Goers, who is in the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame, told the audience athletics should build character. You must be able to take criticism, in a positive way, to participate.
“Athletics places you up against obstacles and equips you to overcome them,” Steve Goers said.
The elder Goers talked about his lengthy coaching career, the importance of family and establishing a strong foundation. He touched on the subject of “real life.” Some of today’s youth, he said, are growing up with a sense of entitlement. Parents, he said, have a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“It’s our responsibility as parents, not to be their friends, but to be parents,” Steve Goers said. “We must know when to say yes and when to say no. We need responsible adults. These kids have to make it for themselves.”
He referred to the lyrics of a Whitney Houston song that says “I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way.”
At one point, he had all players to come to the stage. He also had his son and two grandsons take the stage.
The tables were decorated with footballs. There were banners on the walls and a screen showed highlights games ona large screen.
Sam Janski, VEBF president, served as an emcee introducing coaches. He said it has been an exciting past two years for Vilonia basketball. As well, he offered words of encouragement. Sometimes, he said, the players love the coaches and sometimes they don’t. Basketball, he said, is a lot like life. “You put in the hard work and it pays off.”
Although 150 or more were in attendance, it was said the Vilonia girl’s team was in Benton playing in a tournament. Several people were on stage for short stints including officers of the VEBF who were introduced. Coach Tim Goers and Coach Alvin Riley, both spoke briefly. They touted the praises of the team and singled out some players as well as handed out a handful of awards to the players.
Vilonia High School senior Charlie Thomas signed a letter of intent to attend the University of St. Francis in Illinois, and play under Coach Ryan Marks. His signing will include a $3,000 scholarship the first year, $3,800 the second and a full ride the third and fourth years.
Thomas said, when he completes college, his plans include pursuing a business degree. His ultimate goal, he said, is to manage an assisted living center. He currently volunteers at the Stonehaven Assisted Living Center in Maumelle where his parents work. His mother is in nursing and his dad is in business.
Charlie said he began playing basketball in fifth grade. Some of his friends were playing and they said, “They needed a big boy,” Charlie recalled. He stepped up to fill the bill.
Standing 6 ft. 8 inches and weighing 215 pounds, Charlie said, he has continued to grow. He said he is the tallest player on the Vilonia team and wears a size 19 shoe.
Coach Tim Goers touted the praises of Charlie saying “he really wants this.” He also said it is his first time to have a “kid sign to go to the next level” in basketball.
Friends of the Foundation also awarded two $750 basketball scholarships including one to Sarah Brantley and one to Ben Payne.