STARKVILLE — Tony and Missy Goodman met as students at Auburn and raised triplets in Mississippi.
“The kids grew up with Auburn in their blood, I guess you could say, whether they liked it or not,” Tony Goodman said.
Now the triplets are freshmen in college, all of them at Southeastern Conference West Division schools. Only one of them is at Auburn; one of them will compete against the Tigers on Saturday.
Scott Goodman is the only boy of the trio and he is now Mississippi State’s kickoff specialist, a job he won as a freshman. If the coin toss goes the right way, he could open the game by kicking off to his sister Sydney’s school, with Jaime as the impartial spectator as an Ole Miss student. The Goodman family comes together 6:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) when No. 8 Auburn (4-1, 1-1 SEC) visits MSU (3-2, 0-2 SEC).
“As close as they are, they also like being separate, I think, to where they’re not grouped with their brother and sister or two sisters or whatnot,” Tony Goodman told The Dispatch. “I really think they like being away, being apart and the whole triplet thing doesn’t necessarily come up anymore.”
Scott remembers Jaime, the oldest by one minute, wanting to stay in-state and having it narrowed down to Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi. Tony remembers her visiting Ole Miss at times during her senior year of high school, seeing older friends, finding a sorority she liked (Delta Gamma) and coming to appreciate the law program.
Scott, the middle triplet, wanted to kick in his home state and in the SEC if at all possible. The preferred walk-on offer in December was a big development for him; the scholarship offer that followed in February made it easy for him to choose to be a Bulldog. Sydney’s Auburn upbringing was plenty of influence, and the pharmacy program took her desire to go to the Plains over the top.
All three of them are thriving on their own — just as designed by their parents.
Tony Goodman remembers planting the seeds for their independence when he signed them up for kindergarten. He remembers squeezing himself into a tiny elementary school desk and opening a folder to realize he only had one set of papers, obviously needing three. Once he told the principal why he needed three — and she expressed her shock — it gave him the opportunity to put the plan in motion.
“I want them separated in classes. I’d like for them to be raised as individuals,” Tony Goodman told the principal.
“Of course the girls dressed alike sometimes and we have pictures here and there of the three of them in the same or similar outfits, but we wanted them to be separated — which made it a little difficult on us with teachers and homework and all — but we wanted them to not be known as the triplets, to not be grouped as the triplets so they could have their own way and their own friends, be known as individuals.”
However, when the moment requires, their tight bond shows as they come together. The sisters had already made their college decisions when Scott signed with MSU in February; they wore maroon to school that day for the pictures. Sydney’s closest friends at Auburn know about Scott and the meaning of this game.
“They’re all excited, they know how close we are even though we’ve been split up and stuff. I have a few friends that are going,” Sydney Goodman told The Dispatch.
On Saturday, Sydney Goodman will be there for her brother — even if she’s wearing orange and blue.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.