Thanks to his adviser, former Western Reserve Academy standout learns the best things come for those who don't wait

FRANK ACETO Reporter
Noah Goad, seated, a 2020 Western Reserve Academy graduate, signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and lacrosse careers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Also pictured are, from left, WRA director of athletics Herb Haller, former Pioneers head boys lacrosse coach CJ Polak and Reserve assistant ice hockey coach Jeff Warner.

English actor Christopher Parker once said, “Procrastination is like a credit card: It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

It’s a safe bet that Hudson resident Noah Goad knows the feeling. He has been quite guilty of racking up a significant amount of debt when it comes to the essential rules of life.

His punishment? Let’s just say it’s far worse than the IRS.

“Coach Warner gave me a big kick in my rear,” Goad said.

Coach Warner is Jeff Warner, a longtime teacher and coach at Western Reserve Academy.

And what role did the College Street icon who absolutely detests the word “postponement” play in the dillydallying teenager’s life?

Warner was Goad’s academic adviser.

In other words, it went something like this for a certain teenager whose apathy toward clocks was undeniable: Goad could run, but he couldn’t hide.

“I was a big procrastinator,” Goad said. “I was bad at managing my time. Coach Warner taught me how to make better use of my time with my schoolwork.”

Even when Goad left the classroom, the formidable shadow of his stern but caring counselor always seemed to be lurking nearby. That included slippery surfaces.

Warner also moonlights as an assistant coach with the Pioneers’ ice hockey team. And yes, Goad likes to wear skates during the wintertime.

That’s OK, though. Goad doesn’t need an alarm clock to get to the ice on time.

Not on Warner’s watch, at least.

“I grew close to him over time,” Goad said. “It’s awesome.”

Goad seems to have his priorities in order these days. To be honest, he won’t have much of a choice.

Much like his alma mater, Goad’s college experience won’t wait on him. Especially the college he plans to attend.

In this case, a certain 16th-century saint may be by his side if he plays his cards right. Something even more powerful could guide him too.

As Peter Canisius once said, “If you have much to do, with God’s help, you will find time to do it all.”

He would know. Canisius led the Society of Jesus, which was largely responsible for the restoration of the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation. Thus, a certain college has honored his name in the Empire State for the last 150 years.

In case you’re wondering, Goad plans to get to know this venerable “Doctor of the Church” quite well.

For the next four years, as a matter of fact.

Goad, a 2020 WRA graduate who was a two-sport standout for the Pioneers, recently signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and lacrosse careers at Canisius College, a private Division I Jesuit college in Buffalo, New York.

Goad, who plans to major in sports management, chose the urban, 72-acre school over Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, and Amherst College in Massachusetts.

It was love at first sight for Goad when he visited Canisius, which was originally led by German Jesuits.

Particularly when he met his future coaches.

“I loved the coaches,” Goad said. “I loved it when I got there. I visited in September and committed in October.”

Goad first heard of Canisius, which is led by third-year head coach Mark Miyashita, when he made a trip to Buffalo for a prospect camp two years ago.

To say he was intrigued would be putting it mildly.

“I saw Mike Perrino, who played professional lacrosse and is now an assistant at John Carroll,” Goad said. “I always remembered how good of a time it was.”

Pardon Goad if those “good times” have been a bit hazy in recent months. That’s because someone or something killed the music just when he was ready to perform his swan song.

Due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as COVID-19, the entire spring season was canceled.

Goad, a standout midfielder with a shot that could resemble an Aroldis Chapman fastball, didn’t get a chance to light up the lamp like he did so frequently in previous years.

“I was bummed out because this was the year for me to dominate,” Goad said. “I think I could have been first-team All-Midwest. I could have been an All-American. We had been practicing for three weeks. It was a bummer, for sure.”

What made it even worse was the fact that Goad was named a captain. Instead, his 99-mile-per-hour shot that terrorized so many opposing goalies remained in hibernation.

As a result, former Reserve head boys lacrosse coach CJ Polak never got a chance to see his favorite bear emerge out of the cave.

“Noah put in a lot of work throughout the year on his own,” Polak said. “He worked with the younger guys on the team. He was really committed to it. He wasn’t able to showcase his stuff.”

Polak certainly didn’t think his former pupil was exaggerating when it comes to what might have been. As the lacrosse guru knows full well, a player like Goad isn’t exactly as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.

“He was definitely a kid who went up against the other team’s best defenseman,” Polak said. “He would have had an All-MSLCA [Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association] type of year.

“He has a really good step-down shot, but what stands out between the lines is how hard he works. He’s always hustling back on defense. He was always willing to do whatever it took.”

Interestingly enough, Polak was Goad’s third coach in four years. By the way, the revolving door continued as 2002 WRA graduate Dylan Sheridan was named Reserve’s head coach recently.

“Audi Glass recruited me,” Goad said. “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had. I’ve known CJ for a couple of years. He’s awesome.”

Goad certainly hopes to continue having “awesome” relationships with his future coaches, who saw their tasks as instructors abruptly cut short due to the pandemic.

The Golden Griffiths lost their first five matches before the rest of the season was canceled. Canisius finished 8-8 overall and 4-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2019.

As for Goad, he fully embraces a certain Kenyan proverb: “Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.”

Goad also was one of the top goal-scorers on the Pioneers’ ice hockey team. In the middle of the season, though, Goad was forced to become the team’s emergency goaltender due to the loss of a significant player to injury.

He’s very significant to Goad, by the way. That’s because this talented young man is his younger brother, Adam.

“I was a goalie my whole life until I moved to forward my sophomore year,” Goad said. “We won a game with five players at a Christmas Tournament.

“One thing Adam always had was a strong work ethic. He always worked his behind off. I like to think he looks up to me, but I definitely took something from his work ethic.”

Due to the injuries and lack of overall numbers, Reserve, led by another longtime coach in multiple sports, Brand Closen, finished 7-18-1.

Such a fact wasn’t the least bit discouraging for the do-everything Goad. The affable teenager had an absolute blast hanging out with a pair of wise men, who have a fondness for punctuality.

Thanks to these two distinguished gentlemen, Goad learned this valuable lesson from an anonymous author about putting things aside for another day.

“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.”

“Mr. Warner and Mr. Closen are two of my biggest role models,” Goad said. “People like them really changed my life.”

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @Faceto_Gannett.