Barry Goheen: Mr. Memorial Magic

March 20, 2013

Commodore History Corner Archive

Barry Goheen (1986-89) is a Vanderbilt basketball legend. He is known for his wizardry on the basketball court with buzzer-beating baskets and launching impossible half-court bombs to win games. Goheen has been known as the man with the “Magic Touch,” “Last Gasp Goheen,” “Bold Barry,” “Gifted Goheen,” “The Great Goheen” and the “Miracle Man.” Goheen was a charter member of Vanderbilt’s famed “Bomb Squad.”

The six-foot-four left-hander was carried off the floor of Memorial Gymnasium three times and has added his name to “The Magic of Memorial Gym.” His one-time roommate Charles Mayes said that Goheen “has made a pact with the devil.” His coach, C.M. Newton once said about his clutch guard’s exploits on the hardwood, “it’s downright spooky.”

In those three instances that Commodore fans charged the court to lift their hero upon their shoulders, Goheen was surprised as he was only doing his part to win games. Opponent’s coaches and players would walk off the court in defeat shaking their heads in disbelief as they realized they had just been “Goheened.”

“It’s a little frightening at first,” Goheen said about the hundreds of Commodore fans rushing towards him. “You can’t do that anymore probably for a good reason. In those games in 1987, ’88 and ’89, it wasn’t just those last second games. When we beat Kentucky and drilled Tennessee by 28 in 1988 you’d have the students rushing onto the floor when the game was over. They aren’t trying to do anything, but congratulate you. I don’t think it is too dangerous, but I certainly do understand why the conference and the NCAA clamp down on those celebrations.”

Goheen, 46, earned First Team All-State honors in his senior year at Marshall County (Ky.) High School. He was his alma mater’s all-time leading scorer with 1, 813 points. Benny Goheen, Barry’s father, played on North Marshall’s 1959 state championship team and taught his son the game. Goheen was recruited by Missouri, Stanford, Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, Virginia and Duke to some degree. Louisville did not recruit Goheen, but Kentucky could have been possible.

“It’s pretty hard for anyone growing up in Kentucky and not be attached to at least one of the two schools Kentucky or Louisville and be a basketball fan,” said Goheen. “It’s part of the DNA of the people that grow up in Kentucky even in the far western part of the state where I was from. I did live pretty far from Louisville and Lexington. Kentucky would send out feelers to the in-state players that were on the top shelf like Rex Chapman who was a year after me.

“They had a national recruiting base and waited until the spring of the senior year before offering and I wanted to sign early. They did this with [John] Pelphrey and Richie Farmer and several other players. They didn’t offer me a scholarship in the fall, but I wanted to get it out of the way and enjoy my senior season in high school.”

Goheen chose Vanderbilt and Coach Newton. Nashville was less than a two-hour drive from his home, which gave his family more chances to see him play at the college level. The strong academics and the prestige of SEC basketball were also factors in Goheen’s decision.

Memorial Gym’s floor is raised like a stage originally designed not only for basketball, but concerts and plays. There are seven recorded feats of Goheen that were almost seen as an act in “The Barry Goheen Show.” Goheen started 12 games for the Commodores as a freshman when guard Jeff Gary was sidelined with a triple fracture in his cheekbone. The show opened, when as a freshman, Goheen scored five points in the final 28 seconds against Tennessee at Memorial Gym to rally the Commodores from an eight-point deficit with 48 seconds. Goheen Act No.1:

Goheen“I didn’t really appreciate that it was Vanderbilt’s rival until after the game,” said Goheen. “That’s when I realized that UT was something special. We were down by eight points and had the ball underneath our basket. I inbounded the ball to Steve Reece who scored and was fouled. That cut the lead to six. He missed the free throw, but [Barry] Booker came flying in from the back lane, the one next to the shooter which he did a lot back in those days.

“You can’t do it now. You only have three lanes filled now. They moved it back. You have the defensive team, the offensive team, then the shooter. But Booker tipped it in and just like that we were down by four. Tony White walked. I came down and hit a little 10-foot jumper in the lane. We were down by two. We fouled White who was a 90 percent free throw shooter. He missed the front end of a one-and-one. We came down and I missed a shot.

“The ball got battered around underneath the basket. I drifted to the baseline about six feet away and the ball ended up in my hands. I shot it and Dyron Nix, who was also a freshman, fouled me while the shot went in to tie the game [four seconds left]. Then I made the free throw. We scored eight points in the final 48 seconds to win and this was without a 3-point line. The 3-point line came into affect the next year.”

Goheen’s Act No. 2 came a month later when he hit an 18-footer with 36 seconds left to beat Florida, 60-59 also in Memorial Gym.

“I did hit a shot with about 36 seconds to go to put us up one,” said Goheen. “They came down and missed. I guess that qualifies as a game-winning shot. That’s like in baseball getting a go ahead single in the top of the ninth. You’ve got to hold them in the bottom of the ninth. It wasn’t exactly your thrilling buzzer beater.”

Goheen was named to the Freshman All-SEC team, leading the Commodores in field goal percentage (54.2) and free throw percentage (84.6). He averaged 8.1 points per game in a season where Vanderbilt was 13-15 (7-11 SEC). Goheen appeared in all of Vanderbilt’s 28 games. The previous year, the Commodores were 11-17 (4-14).

“When Booker, [Frank] Kornet and I came in the team the previous year was in last place,” said Goheen. “They lost like 11 games in a row. We came in and [Will] Perdue came off a redshirt year. A lot of new players came in the mix. We improved some that year by going 7-11; we had that big win over Tennessee and Florida.

“That was the year we had the free throw record we hit something like 35-of-36 free throws [97.2 percent] against Mississippi State. I think that is still an NCAA record. We showed progress that year. Kornet played very well in the beginning of the year, but got injured. Booker and I had some good moments and Perdue had some good moments backing up Brett Burrow. We were all able to get some experience that laid the groundwork for what was to come over the next few years.”

Vanderbilt opened Goheen’s sophomore season winning the first 9-of-10 games. One of those victories was over Indiana led by Coach Bobby Knight. The Commodores were 4-1 and coming off a loss at Duke. The Hoosiers were ranked No. 2 in the country and lost to the Commodores 79-75 in Memorial Gym. Indiana would win the NCAA national championship at the end of that season.

“We were playing with a lot of confidence,” said Goheen. “We began that season in a tournament in Hawaii around Thanksgiving. We beat some good teams and won it. Will had come out of nowhere. He was averaging 16 to 18 points per game with eight or 10 boards. The 3-point shot had come into play. We had [Scott] Draud who was a freshman. Booker and I were sophomores and we were able to take advantage of the 3-point line. I don’t think it was expected that Indiana was going to win the whole thing, but we knew they had a good team.

“We played with them toe-to-toe the whole game. They would lead and we would lead. Steve Alford was a great player and had a great game. Glen Clem really trailed him for us going around screens and through picks. He made Alford work for all of his shots. I had the best game I ever had until late in my senior year scoring 26 points. That was the win that did give us national attention, but it also started building this aura of ‘Memorial Gym Magic.’ We would find a way to beat these well-known programs.”

Goheen’s Act No. 3 was at Penn on Dec. 4, 1987. He hit a jumper for a Commodore lead of 69-68 with 32 seconds left in the game. Penn went up by one and Goheen buried a 17-footer at the buzzer for a Vanderbilt victory, 71-70.

“Penn was one of those games that was not televised anywhere,” Goheen said. “Penn was not considered that great of a team, but they won the Ivy League and I think went to the NCAA. It was just one of those things where the ball ended up in my hands and the game clock was about to expire. Will had a fantastic game. He was something like 13-of-15 from the field. They had no one with his size or skill that could stop him.

“When we had the ball down by one we obviously tried to get the ball down to Will, but they had about two or three guys around him. We couldn’t get it in to him. Finally I had the ball at the free throw line extended. I just made the shot out of necessity. It was a classic letdown game after having the big win over Indiana. That game was played at The Palestra, which is one of the most historic venues in basketball.”

The Commodores finished that season 18-16 (SEC, 7-11) and were selected to the NIT. Wins came over Jacksonville and Florida State, but a trip to New York was cancelled with a loss to Southern Mississippi. All three games were played in Memorial Gym. Goheen was second on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg), first in free throw percentage (83.8) and played the most minutes.

Vanderbilt was optimistic for the 1987-88 season with its top four scorers returning including Goheen, Booker, Perdue and Draud. The Commodores gained more national attention with another upset victory this time over No. 1 ranked Dean Smith and his North Carolina Tar Heels in Nashville.

“We felt like we could take it to a higher level and that is what happened,” said Goheen. “North Carolina was a great game. They were extremely talented. It was like the Indiana game in a sense that it was nip and tuck. There were times in the second half we were behind by a few points and could have packed it in. Like we gave it a good effort, but nobody expects us to beat North Carolina so let’s close it out. But no, we came back and played a terrific stretch run. Charles Mayes was awesome. He had about five 3-pointers. Perdue had a terrific game. I think if you ask guys like Booker and Perdue they will tell you it was one of the worse officiated games they’d ever seen. It was an ACC crew, which is generally how it works.

“The visiting teams conference provides the officials. It was a horribly officiated game. We still won. I remember in the locker room we were very happy, but it wasn’t like Mardi Gras. It wasn’t a celebration like with Indiana where we celebrated like won the national championship. We were happy to win the North Carolina game, but knew this was expected from good teams. We celebrated the Indiana win as if we weren’t expected to win. The North Carolina game we celebrated like we expected to win.”

Vanderbilt played in a stretch that season where they went on a roll to win 9-of-10 games mostly by blowouts in Memorial Gym.

“It was really something special,” said Goheen. “We lost our first three games in the SEC and got a huge break in the fourth game at Ole Miss. We were behind by two with about a minute to go. We got the benefit of a very fast five-second call when they tried to inbound the ball. It wasn’t five seconds. It wasn’t even four seconds. Booker hit the go ahead shot and that was the difference with the 3-pointer. From that point on we won seven games in a row and 9-of-10.

“Coach Newton said it many times: we couldn’t have played any better during that stretch. I think the closest anybody got was 15 points, but we leading Georgia by 27 in the first half; Tennessee by 25 in the first half and we beat Florida by 27. We were just clicking. It is wonderful when teams get into those grooves. You just feel like you can’t do anything wrong and conversely the opponent is thinking we can’t get a break what is going to happen. We played great defense. Will was terrific inside. The Bomb Squad thing kind of blew up during this period of time.

“We were getting notoriety with 3-pointers raining down left and right. It was a great run for about a month. It was the hottest ticket in town. I don’t think it is something you will ever see again, not because there is not a better team just because Vandy had not been in the NCAA Tournament in 14 years and not created a national stir. This was something that made the whole Vanderbilt community excited. Students were camping out for tickets. It was something awesome.”

The Commodores made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1974. They defeated Utah State and Pitt in overtime to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Pitt was ranked No. 8 in the country and the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional. Goheen hit two 3-pointers in five seconds to record one of the most dramatic clutch plays in Vanderbilt history. The second trey sent the game into overtime, which brings it to Goheen’s Act No. 4.

“I think a lot of it is instinct,” Goheen said. “I don’t think it is being overly modest to say I happened to get the ball. Coach Newton said it many times after that game and others that I happened to hit the shot. He would have had just as much confidence if Booker or Draud or whoever had the ball and taken the shot. It was so happened I was the one who took it. In the Pitt game, Draud actually did get the ball first. They hit two three throws and were up by four. He took the ball drove it straight down in the middle of the floor, drew a double-team and he kicked it to me in the corner and I no choice at that point to shoot a 3-pointer and I hit it.

“So we are down one and call a timeout. They in bounded the ball to Charles Smith, their great center. Perdue fouled him, which was Wilbur’s fifth foul. So he was out of the game with four seconds to go. Smith hit both foul shots on the one-and-one. They are up by three. Eric Reid inbounded the ball. He threw it to me and Pitt did not call timeout, which was a Cardinal sin not to set their defense. They didn’t put any pressure on us in the backcourt. I caught the ball not far from the half-court line. I was able to dribble down quickly and get a very good shot that was more or less in front of our bench. It was probably 22 feet away.

“It was contested, but they were trying to be careful not to foul. That was another controversy that they dickered with the last 25 years or so why not foul when you have a 3-point lead late in the game. They choose not to and I hit the shot. It was a makeable shot; not impossible. It just goes off instinct. There is not really a lot of time to think. Even though Wilbur had fouled out, and we had to play the overtime without him, we were able to get ahead and win the game in overtime.”

Vanderbilt lost the next game to Kansas that featured Danny Manning, an All-American. The Jayhawks beat the Commodores 77-64 in the Sweet Sixteen and would win the national championship.

“Other than the fact I had a terrible game, I try not to think about it too much,” said Goheen. “Manning was the best player for one game where I was on the court with. He did everything. Coach Newton was hoping Manning would have an average game. He was averaging about 25 points per game and we would concentrate on everybody else. It turned out he did have a good game, but it wasn’t because we weren’t focused on him.

“He had 38 points, which was incredible. He hit 3-pointers, led fast breaks; he had this lightning fast release on a jump hook. The irony is we lost 77-64 and he had 38 and averaged 25. It would have been a close game if we could have contained him to his normal night. We didn’t and it was one of those nights. He was a great player and great players step up in those situations.”

Vanderbilt finished that season 20-11 (10-8). Goheen was Honorable Mention All-American by Basketball Times and Third Team All-SEC by AP and UPI. He was the teams' number two scorer (12.4 ppg) and led the Commodores in assists (89) and steals (34).

Goheen received the Jan van Breda Kolff Assist Award, the Co-Captain Award and the Rob Roy Purdy Academic Award. He was also Academic All-SEC. Goheen entered his senior season as a co-captain with Booker and Kornet.

“I think as special as 1988 was with the Sweet Sixteen, the Pitt game, that mid-year streak and the Bomb Squad with Perdue as the player of the year in the league I have a warmer feeling for my senior year,” said Goheen. “We came in on a team with a last place finish the year before. Vanderbilt was a non-factor all the way around in terms of basketball. Our senior year, we are second place in the league at 12-6. We had some incredibly memorable wins and equally incredible memorable losses.

“I am personally very proud of how we overcame adversity that clearly would have sunk teams with less character than we had. We are still very close. We all succeeded in high school, played well in parts of the three years we all started. Our expectations were great. A lot of the media’s expectations were focused on who wasn’t there, which was Will, who undoubtedly was a tremendous void that we had to fill. We had a lot of other great players coming back like Eric Reid, Derrick Wilcox, Charles Mayes, and Steve Grant all had played very well the previous year.

“Draud had redshirted so he wound up not playing that year. We felt like we’d have a very good season. We had to overcome an extremely difficult non-conference schedule, difficult losses and off the court happenings that tested our character and our resolve. Then at the end of the day we had a chance to win the SEC. We were and are very proud of what we accomplished that year as three seniors.”

1988-89 Media Guide Cover
Vanderbilt began the season losing to Michigan and Ohio State in the Maui Classic, but did pick up a win with Chaminade. Returning to Memorial Gym, the Commodores would face Denny Crum and his No. 13 ranked Louisville Cardinals. The game was tied at 62 with Vanderbilt in possession of the ball under its basketball. With just a few seconds on the clock and the full length of the court to conquer, Vanderbilt fans sat back expecting overtime. Goheen launched a shot before reaching mid-court that went through the hoop and a sudden Vanderbilt victory. So how does Goheen explain Goheen Act No. 5?

“I’m not too sure that I can explain it,” Goheen said with a laugh. “Other to say if you don’t shoot it, it won’t go in. The easy thing to do is just inbounds the ball and don’t risk a silly turnover because we are at their end of the floor. Don’t give them a chance to steal the ball and get a shot to win the game. Let’s just take our chances in overtime. Louisville was a ranked team. Who was to say even though that game was at Memorial we would win in the extra five-minute period.

“I got the ball with three seconds to go after they tied it up and we called a timeout. I was able to dribble it to half court and launched it. When it left my hand it felt pretty good. Obviously it’s not the thing you practice. You can’t necessarily expect to hit those. I remember following the trajectory of the shot and ducking my head like ‘hey, this might actually have a chance.’ It’s hard to explain these things.

“Every one of these shots is different. Pitt was a different set of circumstances. Louisville was a different set of circumstances. Georgia was a different set of circumstances. They all had the common thread that the shot was made. It was just ‘do the best you can in three seconds’ and we got the best result possible.”

In January, Goheen pulled off two heroics in the game against Georgia. Just before halftime, Goheen hit another mid-court shot as the buzzer sounded. Goheen insisted that he didn’t practice half-court shots.

“One reason we played so well in late game situations,” said Goheen. “Coach Newton would have the scoreboard at Memorial cued up and say ‘okay, we are down by three with a minute to go.’ Or ‘you’re up four with two minutes to go.’ You try to simulate these late-game situations. You can’t put 15,000 fans in there with an intense opponent versus the people on your own team. But still you do your best to coach what you do in a game situation. We didn’t mess up very many of those. I hit most of the shots, but every single person on the team had a big shot at one time or another.

“You don’t simulate half-court shots, but as a joke after that Louisville game we were practicing before the next game at UAB. Instead of putting you are down by three with 40 seconds to go, Coach Newton said we are tied with three seconds to go and shoot a half-court shot. He did that as a joke. And naturally I missed it. If I was in a situation where I had to hit a half-court shot or in the case with Georgia, which was beyond the half-court that was longer than the Louisville shot, try to use the same form you would use if you were shooting a regular shot. You were going to have to launch it a little bit lower to get more strength.”

Near the end of the Georgia game, Vanderbilt was down by two points with 10 seconds to go. Booker brings the ball down the court, crosses the mid-court strip, and leaps into the air to pass the ball to Goheen. After passing the ball, Booker collides with a Bulldog defender. Both players fell to the floor with a no-call.

“I don’t recall seeing the collision,” said Goheen. “I was definitely calling for the ball. I was focused on where the ball was and at the time the ball was in the hands of Barry Booker, which was a safe place for the ball to be. I was open; he had the guy in front of him. I saw that. I was on the other side of the court pretty much directly across from him at the same spot.”

To complete Goheen’s Act No. 6, Goheen shakes off a Georgia defender, looks up at the clock, stepped back behind the 3-point line and with confidence drilled the trey for a 76-75 Vandy win.

“I believe it is a combination of confidence and stupidity now having time to reflect on it,” joked Goheen. “What had happened with about 35 or 40 seconds to go we were down by two or three points. On an inbounds pass we had a turnover. Derrick Wilcox and I crossed each other up. It looked like a game killer for us. I remember during a timeout or dead ball I walked behind Derrick and told him, ‘if we got the ball back, I’m going to go for a three.’ I just made up my mind at that moment we needed to do that. It was impossible to perceive what was going to happen. But Georgia missed a pretty wide-open layup and the dunk that followed that would have won the game.

“Booker claimed the rebound dunk that bounced about 25 feet off the rim. When he threw it to me I guess I was about 15 feet away from the basket and really didn’t have anybody between the basket and me. Somebody rushed over so I wouldn’t have had an open layup for sure. I could have stopped at about 10 feet and shot it. Patrick Hamilton, the same player who missed the layup, came back and got on me when I went back to the 3-ponit line. For whatever reason he went for a steal and missed. When he did that, I whirled back around the 3-point line. I was wide open at that time. That was the shot and it went in at the buzzer. I can’t explain it in any other way.

“The very next day Charles Mayes and I were reading the newspaper about the hullabaloo on the game; the combination of the half-court shot before halftime and the 3-point shot to win it. Georgia had been predicted to win the league. Charles looked at me and said, ‘did you ever think about what would have happened if you missed it?’ That was the very first time I had thought about it. I do think the key to shooting, especially when you’ve got these pressure shots, don’t think about missing. You can’t take a shot hoping it will go in. You’ve got to take the shot with the mindset knowing you are going to make it.”

A couple of weeks later Florida came to Memorial Gym, which resulting in the most bizarre ending to a game that Vanderbilt fans would ever witness. Late in the game, the Commodores are down by three points and Goheen hits a 3-pointer and was fouled. His free throw put the ’Dores up by one. Vanderbilt would eventually take a two-point lead with just seconds on the clock.

The Gators threw the ball away on a turnover. As the ball sailed out of bounds with one second on the clock, a barrage of tennis balls came flying from the stands. Official John Clougherty charged the scorers table, calling a technical foul on the fans. Florida center, Dwayne Schintzius, would knock down a one-and-one to send the game into overtime where the Commodores would lose the game.

During the previous summer, Schintzius was involved in a fight on a tennis court. When the Gators were on a road game some fans would throw tennis balls as a way of mocking the Florida center. The SEC Commissioner gave a warning that such future instances would result in a technical foul.

“The previous weekend we beat Texas for Coach Newton’s 500th victory,” said Goheen. “He asked to see us in the locker room the next day, which was our day off on Sunday. Normally we would not see him at all until Monday. We went in wondering what this was all about. He told us he was resigning to go to UK to be athletic director effective April 1. He was still going to coach us for the rest of the season.

“That was an earth-shaking event for us. It really was hard to describe. I’m even stuttering now trying to recall it. It was so unexpected and disappointing that we didn’t know how to react. But it tested the resolve of the team. We were seniors so we were leaving anyway. Imagine a freshman or sophomore who had been recruited expecting to play for Coach Newton for four years then learning this is it.

“Then we turn around and play the Florida game, which was incredibly hard to play. All five starters were in various stages of the flu. We played a horrible first half as you might imagine. Our coach had just resigned so we were dealing with that. We did come back and played a really good second half.

“We were behind by three with about 30 seconds to go. We had a 3-point shot that missed. Kornet got the rebound, he saw me at the top of the key behind the 3-point line. He fed it to me. Clifford Lett came out tried to block the shot and cut the legs out from under me. The shot went in and he fouled me. I hit the free throw and suddenly we are up one. Then I stole the in bounds pass. So now we have the ball and the lead. I passed it to Booker who got fouled. He missed the one-and-one.

“They come down and missed a shot. Kornet gets the rebound and he gets fouled. He hit the first shot of the one-and-one, but missed the second one. Then they threw the ball away and it looks like the game is over. Then the tennis balls came out and Clougherty calls a technical foul. Schintzius hits the two free throws and won in overtime. It was a real crusher. There’s no doubt about it.”

If Vanderbilt had won that game they might have been at least SEC co-champions. So were Goheen and his teammates upset with the tennis ball tossing fans?

“The person that I blame for this from the beginning was the clock operator,” said Goheen. “I think it would have been very easy to just let the clock run out. I don’t think Clougherty would call a technical foul with zeros on the clock. I don’t think he could. If he thought that’s wrong there should be a second put back on the clock or something like that. Clean up the tennis balls and play the last second, which is our ball.

“That is where I had the biggest problem on that last crazy sequence. I wish the clock operator had let the clock just run out. That whole thing that it cost us the SEC championship, I never really bought into. Florida came into that game 2-4 in the SEC. I believe if we’d won that game they would have packed it in and not won the championship. They didn’t lose again until at the end of the season.”

The next month Goheen’s final Act No.7 came in a 71-69 win over Ole Miss at Vanderbilt. Goheen hit two free throws with two seconds left in a tied game. Vanderbilt concluded the season with a first round loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament. Their record was 19-14 (12-6).

“I think we had the toughest non-conference schedule in the country,” Goheen said. “The first game of the year was in Maui against Michigan that won it all. That’s the third year in a row we played the eventual national champions. Then we played Ohio State a great team in Maui. We beat Louisville, North Carolina got revenge from the previous season. We lost at Kansas State and Stanford, which were NCAA teams.”

Goheen was named First Team All-SEC as a senior. He was also an Academic All-SEC for the third straight year. Goheen was also a selection to the All District III-A (southeast) by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and First Team All-South by Basketball Times. In his career, Goheen played in 126 games, shot 47.8 percent (521-of-1, 104) with 354 assists. Goheen shot 79.5 per cent from the free throw line and a total of 1,509 points to rank 13th all-time in Commodore history. As a senior, Goheen was Vanderbilt’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Goheen was not drafted by an NBA team, but went to the Chicago Bulls camp for a short time. Perdue was in his second season for the Bulls.

“I really couldn’t get too motivated playing ball,” said Goheen. “I wasn’t born with the DNA of playing basketball every minute of the day. It was great. It was fun to play. I don’t think there was anyway I could improve on what I had done or accomplished at Vanderbilt. I went to camp with some other people I knew and played against. My heart really wasn’t in it. They did not bring me to their fall camp and I turned down chances to go overseas or try to hook up with other NBA teams. It was just something I wasn’t interested in.”

After deciding to give up professional basketball, Goheen worked in Nashville at the Federal Reserve for two years. He earned a Law Degree from the Vanderbilt School of Law and for the past 16 years has been living in Atlanta and is a partner with the law firm of King & Spalding. Goheen said he finds litigation in the courtroom just as challenging and exciting as being on the basketball court.

Goheen was asked about playing in Memorial Gymnasium.

“Unbelievable,” said Goheen. “It is really special. It’s almost hard to describe. It is an oddly-configured place with the floor raised and the benches on end instead of the sidelines. It is just a special place and we played in some great places. We played at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke. We played at North Carolina and Indiana. We played in a lot of famous venues. It’s hard for me to be objective to find a better place to play or watch a game at Memorial Gym.

“The fans are so into the game and knowledgeable. They know the players and the opposing players. They know the opposing coaches. Then when you are able to perform whether it is a blowout or a last second shot, you know you connected with those 15,000 people at the time. I first went to a game there in February 1984 as a high school junior to see the Commodores play Kentucky. I have not failed to get chills down my spine as a player or when I go back to visit.”

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can contact Bill Traughber via email Traughbers’s new book “Vanderbilt Basketball, Tales of Commodore Hardwood History” is available online at and in Nashville area bookstores.



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