New GM for ZooKeepers holds unique background

Melissa Godwin has joined the front office of the Asheboro ZooKeepers. (Courtesy photo)

ASHEBORO – Melissa Godwin has clear baseball connections and those could be a boost for the Asheboro ZooKeepers.

Godwin is the team’s new general manager and director of baseball operations. She’s wife to UNC Greensboro baseball coach Billy Godwin.

“My résumé is pretty good without Billy,” she said. “(Taking this job) was the culmination of everything I’ve done.”

She’ll largely handle the ZooKeepers operations. Dennis Garcia, who had been in that role, will concentrate primarily on the American Legion programs that are McCrary Park tenants and the annual fall baseball league for high school players.

ZooKeepers owner Ronnie Pugh said the division of workload should emphasize strengths.

“They’ll overlap,” Pugh said.

Melissa Godwin said it should be a good combination.

Godwin has coached softball at the high school, club and travel circuits. She also has coached volleyball. Before joining the ZooKeepers, she had been at teacher at Southeast Guilford.

“I was looking to get into an AD role,” she said of goal of becoming an athletics director.

Godwin is from Polk County. She played college softball for USC Upstate and later was an assistant coach there.

Her son, Dallas Callahan, played for Asheboro’s Coastal Plain League team in 2021 and is a UNCG senior.

Jeremy Knight, who returned to a teaching position at Southern Alamance High School in August, had the co-GM and manager roles for the past two seasons.

“It filled a void for us at that time,” Pugh said.

Pugh said Godwin’s connections regarding player personnel should be a boost in attracting players to the team.

“They’re spending a lot of time on (assessing) players,” he said.

Godwin said the process of securing player commitments for the 2023 season is moving along. It’s possible that the ZooKeepers’ roster could include players from 15 Division teams. She said a 40-player roster is the goal, and there aren’t expected to be any returning players from the 2022 team.

“I kind of wish you let the fall (season) get over with so you know more what you’re getting,” she said.

Again, there are bound to be players from UNCG.

“How can we not?” the new GM said. “We should have some good ones as well.”

She has also been in contact regarding players from Campbell, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Elon, Liberty, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State and Texas Christian.

The latest renovation of McCrary Park – this time involving a new grandstand, restrooms and concessions area – is another perk for the front office.

“I know it’s bittersweet to see the old (grandstand) go,” she said. “The new stadium is going to have endless possibilities.”

By Bob Sutton