Elkhart AD Luke Goode

Elkhart Athletic Director Luke Goode (right) stands behind an Elk athlete during a squat warmup workout. Elkhart began their summer workouts Monday; a week after the UIL permitted schools to go back.

Athletic Directors have to deal with hundreds of different scenarios during a normal off-season.

This year's UIL COVID-19 guidelines and regulations are just another curveball for a head coach to deal with – especially one entering a new program.

“We're excited,” Elkhart Athletic Director Luke Goode said. “For us starting a new program our biggest thing was just to see the kids. We've had to teach them how to do it the COVID way. But we're still able to get better. We're pumped.”

Monday was a good day for Elkhart high school athletics. It was the first day of summer workouts for the Elks, but in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was anything but normal.

After spring seasons were cut short and canceled due to COVID-19, the University Interscholastic League took a definitive step toward bringing high school sports back during this unprecedented era.

The UIL permitted member schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning programs on June 8. Despite the UIL ruling, Goode delayed his school's start date to June 15.

“We wanted to have a good plan in place that was going to run smoothly and be effective,” Goode said. “We were willing to give up those three or four days last week to di it better.”

Despite the necessary safety precautions, Goode said his athletes were excited to be back on campus with one another. Players were broken into groups and rotated from the weight room to the outdoor field, with weight room equipment being cleaned between groups.

It was also an exciting dynamic for Goode and his coaching staff to balance enforcing COVID regulations along with installing their way of doing things the “Elk way.”

“You have to be flexible and adaptable,” Goode said. “I had time to comb through new coaching candidates and get good people in. It's all about looking at the positive and go from there.”

Though Goode has maintained a positive attitude with his athletes returning to school, there's still room for concern with COVID-19 cases surging through high school and collegiate programs.

Several high school and collegiate programs have reported positive COVID-19 cases this week. It has led to many districts suspending summer programs for two weeks.

“I'm a high-five kind of a guy and the true distancing has been the toughest adjustment,” Goode said. “You want to hug and high five your kids when they come in. It's hard to do that when you can't be near each other.”

The team will continue with voluntary workouts next week. They will be in groups less than 10, and Goode said they'll continue to follow guidelines set by UIL professionals.

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