Women’s Tennis Blog’s friend John Bolan recently had a telephone talk with his friend Lois Goodman, the tennis referee who had been accused of murdering her husband, but now the case has been dropped and she’s been allowed to resume judging matches in 2013. John wanted to share a few words about his friendship with Lolo and some of Lolo’s thoughts from their telephone conversation.
Lois (Lolo) Goodman was accused of murdering her husband of fifty years and arrested in her official uniform while working at the 2012 US Open. She was out of her Los Angeles home she shared with her husband when it seems he had an accident or heart attack on the stairs. When she came home, he was lying on his bed already dead. The police investigated and acknowledged that he died from an accident. Days later, while Lolo was in New York to officiate for the US Open, the authorities arrested her for his murder. She was publicly arrested in her tennis uniform, a picture of which was in all the national news. She was flown back to LA and thrown in prison.
Later, her attorneys won her release. She had to put up bail money and was not permitted to leave her home. She had to wear a monitoring devise around her ankle. Then, she proved she was not having an affair, passed a lie detector test and had an expert witness state her husband probably died because he had a heart attack on the stairs and fell and hit his head on the coffee cup he was carrying. The prosecution finally admitted they had no case and released her. After her release, Lolo was invited to appear on the morning TV shows and was also interviewed by Anderson Cooper.
I met Lolo 10 years ago at the WTA tournament in La Costa, California. Our friends knew her well and introduced me when she came and sat with us after her matches were completed. We would have parties each year for her and the other tennis officials. We would also talk to her at other tennis tournaments and take her to dinner in New York City after tennis at the Open. She is my favorite tennis official.
During my latest conversation with Lolo, she said “I never panicked and never had any doubts because I knew my innocence would be proven”. Her entire family, all of her tennis associates and all of her friends stood behind her. “My defense was very expensive and I was not able to work for months”. A Lois Goodman defense fund has been established and is on Facebook accepting donations to help defray her expenses. “My biggest regret is I did not get a chance to properly mourn my husband’s death”.
Lolo did not start playing tennis until her late twenties when a friend invited her to play. She soon picked up the game and beat her friend on the third try. She took lessons, played and went to matches where she watched the officials. At one match, she was asked if she would be interested in officiating and she said yes. At first she couldn’t get a job, but one day while she was ushering she was asked to fill in and from there on her career took off. That was 35 years ago. She has become a mentor to other officials and has a wonderful time officiating. She has met people from all over the world. She has worked at the Australian Open, Davis Cups, Fed Cups and US Opens. She says “I like best the private Huggy Bear Tournament on Long Island and division one college matches”.
The best news is Lolo Goodman has been reinstated by the United States Tennis Association. She can once again do what she loves and work as a tennis official at the college and WTA tournaments as she has done for so many years. It will be great to see Lolo back on the court! (photo: Jefferson Siegel)