By Nathan Summers
Friday, January 18, 2013
Assistant coaches, graduate assistants, administrative assistants, prospective walk-on players and even some coaches’ wives buzzed back and forth past the open doorway to Cary Godette’s office just after lunch on Thursday.
The bustle outside his office, however, was nothing in comparison to what was happening inside Godette’s work space. The Bluetooth earpiece connected to the side of his head appeared to have taken on the same semi-permanence that a wristwatch or a wedding band does over time. As he settled into his chair, East Carolina’s director of football administration was only minutes away from his next distraction.
“I need to take this one right here,” Godette said after peering down at his ringing cell phone. On the other end were questions about rent at a player’s apartment complex, and that ordeal was just one small glimpse of the everyday life of Godette, now in his third stint at ECU but the first one in which he’s neither a player nor a coach.
“I really don’t ever know what’s going to pop up through the course of a day,” the former All-American defensive lineman and ECU Hall of Famer said, calling much of his day-to-day work baby-sitting. “It could be dealing with kids and their (financial) aid not being correct, or it could be a kid walking in with any kind of problem. It could be (student) housing is calling because someone didn’t pay his rent.”
Even with more than 30 years experience in coaching, Godette admits he never dreamed his current job could be so complex, so far reaching and so stressful.
“It’s a never-ending deal,” the Havelock native said, noting that much of the time both of his phones are ringing simultaneously. “My wife wonders why when I get home that I avoid phone calls, especially if it’s someone I don’t need to talk to.”
This time of the year Godette, 58, is faced with numerous player eligibility issues with incoming signees, including gathering their high school transcripts and SAT scores. That means plenty of action for his earpiece — calling high school and junior college offices, guidance counselors and coaches.
At any given time during the year, Godette can be dealing with on-campus recruiting, program marketing, compliance issues, student housing and development concerns or a combination of them.
It would seem after better than three decades in football — including coaching stops with Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, the Carolina Panthers, the Arizona Cardinals, the Miami Dolphins and Rutgers — that Godette’s exhaustive resume would have given him an advantage when he accepted ECU coach Ruffin McNeill’s job offer in 2010.
Not so, apparently.
“Zero, zero,” Godette said of how much coaching helped prepare him to become a director of football administration. “When I walked into this job three years ago, I had no idea what I was walking into. I just knew that I had been on the field coaching and I was ready for something different, so be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.
“That’s what happened to me,” he added. “It was not what I thought it was going to be. Now I’ve got an idea of what to do, but it’s a lot of trying to get other people to follow up and do the things you need them to do to get your job done.”
Godette said succeeding in his latest football venture has proven to be a process of learning on the job and learning from the mistakes he made in his first year.
As much of a transition as he’s made in three years, Godette offers a quick answer when asked if he wants to coach again someday.
“Absolutely,” said Godette, who came to know McNeill when Godette became ECU’s defensive line coach immediately after his playing career ended in the late 1970s, and while McNeill’s ECU playing days were just getting started. “I probably will finish doing what I’m doing and start doing something else in life.”
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com or 252-329-9595.
via The Daily Reflector.