Rudy Goff arrived in Williamstown in 1964 which coincidentally was the same year that all of us began our four years at Williams. He was a 29-year-old pro who came to Williamstown from Stockbridge with his wife Joanne, their two young sons, and their two young daughters.. Rudy was brought in to be both the head pro at Taconic Golf Club and the coach of the Williams Golf Team. He quickly settled into his new role and he was a wonderful coach, a superb player, a solid mentor for his young men and a committed family man. During Rudy’s 20-year tenure at Williams his teams compiled a record of 219-78-1 with three New England Championships, his first one coming in his first year, and 12 Little Three titles. Our 1968 team, with just one senior, had a record of 8-5 to go with one of the Little Three titles.
Rudy was a wonderful coach and gentleman who led his teams on great spring vacation southern trips as well as on nice road jaunts throughout New England for our away matches. He was able to balance a need for discipline with his comfort in being a fun enabler, and all the while he enjoyed the respect of his young golfers. Rudy would also get Joanne into the act by having the team come to their house for an occasional cookout.
Rudy was also a terrific player who qualified to play in four national PGA Championships in 1963, 1966, 1967 and 1975. What is even more amazing than this record, and unknown by most, is the fact that Rudy was blind in his left eye! The next time that any of you are playing golf you should try lining up and hitting a full shot or a long putt with your left eye closed and you will quickly see how remarkable Rudy’s skills were.
Shortly after we graduated in 1968, Rudy and Joanne made a bold move to buy the Dempsey Building and the Williams College Pharmacy on Spring Street. The Pharmacy was gradually converted to Goff’s Sports and later became the Williams Shop in 1984. Rudy died in 1990 at the early age of 55 and the store was operated by Joanne until 1995 when she transitioned the business to their son Bruce who continues to own and operate the Goff family business. If you want something with a Purple Cow on it when you are in Williamstown for our 50th, this is the place to find it!
Rudy and his family have been making their positive impact on Williams and the Williamstown community on an ongoing basis for as long as any of us have been affiliated Ephs. He was a true sportsman and a gentleman with a large personality, a big heart and a smile that could bring sunshine to a cloudy New England spring day.