By Samantha Bartholomew
Former Viewpoints sports editor Brian Goff died unexpectedly of a heart attack April 24.
Goff served on Viewpoints after graduating from Arlington High School in 1990 where he also worked on its school newspaper, The Mane Thing. After graduating from Riverside City College, Goff began working for the San Bernardino Sun in 1997, where he covered everything from Little League and local high schools and colleges to minor and Major League Baseball.
“Throughout my many years in journalism, there have been a few individuals who created a lasting impression. Brian Goff was one of those. A unique man, devoted to his religious beliefs and his family,” Louis Brewster, a correspondent for the Southern California News Group, said.
“In the high stress world we often work in, Goff was a picture and study of achievement. A former lineman for the CIF championship team at Riverside Arlington, he didn’t let the circumstances dictate how he would function. He was cool under pressure, a gift in this profession”
Tom Moore worked with Goff as the news editor for the Southern California News Group.
“One of the best parts of my day the past two years was checking in with Brian at the paper and him sharing plans for the wedding, and becoming a dad, and trips he was taking with (his wife) Tonya and what the kids were doing at school,” Moore said.
“He’d show me the pictures and share all the details,” Moore added. “He was so happy and proud of his family, and it was a privilege that he shared so enthusiastically. We’ll miss him in a ton of different ways, but I’ll miss those conversations the most.
“One of the last things he did was the kind of genuinely caring thing he did all the time – Colony High School won a section title in basketball this winter, but it was an 8:30 game and ended too late to get in the paper. On Monday, he came in early to build a full-page replica that we were able to share with the coach as a keepsake.”
Though he’s remembered as being happy in his career, the people who knew and loved him remember how much happier he became after reconnecting and marrying his high school sweetheart after 30 years.
Goff detailed his love story with his wife, Tonya, in a Valentine’s Day edition of Menifee 24/7.
Goff tells the story of meeting Tonya at his church after she moved to Riverside with her mother and sister while Goff was in the eighth grade. The pair dated throughout high school before Tonya moved to Oklahoma to live with her father and go to college, where she got married and had three sons before getting a divorce in 2016.
“I miss Brian. I grieve, but not without hope. You see … I have Jesus in my heart and I believe Jesus is God’s only Son who came to earth and died for my sin. Brian believed as well. And because of God’s promises I know I will see Brian in heaven when I leave this temporary place called Earth,” Tonya Goff said in a Facebook post.
Former Viewpoints student Dennis Pope is already taking steps to begin a scholarship to honor Goff’s memory and assist future sports journalists. While the scholarship is still in the fundraising stage, Pope is optimistic.
“Brian was a talented and hard-working sports reporter who, like many of us, loved every minute he spent with RCC’s Viewpoints newspaper,” Pope said. “Brian’s work ethic led to opportunities for himself and for others, and this is what the Brian Goff Scholarship is about – to continue to create inspiration and opportunities for the next generation of Viewpoints sports reporters – because Brian meant a great deal to many of us, and it’s my aim to have his spirit continue to live on through this scholarship.”
“I was pretty shocked when I heard about and it really hit me because Brian took a chance on me. He was my first boss,” James Williams, former Viewpoints editor-in-chief and digital producer for Southern California News Group, said. “Without Brian, I don’t know if I would’ve had the career or the success I’ve had this early on, especially while I’m still in college chasing a degree.”
“He gave me so many opportunities, even when I probably wasn’t even ready. I was so eager and passionate to do anything and everything that I said yes to anything he said. He would call and let me know if I did something wrong, but he was always so patient with me. He never yelled, he never got upset and he was never disrespectful,” Williams said. “He was a man of God and I think that played a lot into his values and the way he treated people. He never talked down to anybody.”
“He was passionate about his community and that’s something that I’ll always remember about him,” Williams said. “You can’t replace that wealth of knowledge. He’s just one of those guys that’s been there and seen it all. He’s worked with everyone. And his impact was not only the loss of him, is not just in sports. He’s touched so many people.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help Goff’s family with several short-term and long-term expenses after his death.
Funeral services will be held May 15 at Magnolia Church in Riverside at 10 a.m.