Valerie Goodwin-Colbert graduated from high school in 1975 in Forgan, Oklahoma. She was a two-sport athlete participation in basketball and track and field. In her senior year, her basketball team won the Oklahoma State Basketball Championship, and she was selected for the All-State Basketball Team. She was also a high jumper for the track team and won four straight State High Jump Championships. Her team won the State Track Championship in 1972. Because of her many athletic accomplishments, in 1975 she was named the Oklahoma’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Valerie attended Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, from 1975 to 1979. She concentrated on basketball participating in four NCAA National Championships where she was selected to the All-Regional Team in 1978 and lead the NCAA in free throw percentage with a 97%. In her senior year, she was elected Student Body President and graduated with a BS in Physical Education, Recreation and Health.
After graduating from college, Valerie was the second selection in the first women’s professional basketball league draft. She played for the Dallas Diamonds from 1979 to 1980. During this time, she also attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and received her ME with a Physical Education specialization in 1981. Over a 10-year period, Valerie coached women’s basketball at various colleges, including Stephen F. Austin State University, Oklahoma State University, Missouri State University and the University of Oklahoma. And in 1984 she was named one of Springfield, Missouri’s Distinguished Women after serving on the YMCA Board of Directors from 1983-1987 and as spokesperson for the Ronald McDonald House for terminally ill children.
In 1990, Valerie was hired at Southwestern College as a Professor of Physical Education and as Head Women’s Basketball Coach. Her teams won 12 Pacific Coast Conference Championships (PCC) and reach the State Regional Final twice, and she was honored as PCC Coach of the Year for six seasons. Her student athletes also sheared in her success and received scholarships to various four-year schools including University of San Diego, San Diego State University, Baker University (Kansas), CSU Northridge, UC Riverside and Norfolk University (Virginia). Always a leader, Valerie also served on the PCC Women’s Coaches Basketball Association and was elected the State President twice and the National Representative to the Association Board for six years.
From 1995-2000, she traveled as a coach/player for the Christian sponsored Basketball International Sports and Cultural Exchange. As their ambassador, her duties in Mexico ranged from conducting clinics to coaching teams. In Oklahoma, she was selected to the All-Decade High School Basketball Team, and since 2009, she worked for the John Brockington Foundation of San Diego promoting and education the community about organ donations.
In 2007-2009 Valerie was elected Southwestern College’s Academic Senate President and until her retirement served on multiple college committees: Co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee, Co-Chair of the Student Services Committee, Institutional Facilities Master Plan Committee and many more. She also was Tenure Review Coordinator and Chair of the Exercise Science Department for two terms. In addition to her participation on campus, she also authored a book and wrote several articles promoting the female student-athlete and her well-being.
Valerie’s late husband, Jim Colbert, was a beloved and outstanding health professor at San Diego City College and assistant football coach who coached at SWC for several seasons. Jim loved teaching, martial arts, salsa dancing, and supporting Valerie 100% in all her endeavors.
Valerie’s best memories of Southwestern College are of the relationships she made over her 25 years, “…the laughter, tears and kinship with my colleagues as well as the unique, diverse challenges of students’ and student-athletes’ lives that will forever be a part of me.”
For your dedication and for the many contributions to the college, your student-athletes, and to the School of Health, Exercise Science, Athletics, and Applied Technology, it is an honor to induct Valerie Goodwin-Colbert into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame as a values member of the Class of 2015.