MANSFIELD, Texas - Seven months after being diagnosed with cancer, Mansfield High School Head Football Coach Daniel Maberry is preparing his Tigers for the upcoming season.
Coach Maberry has stage 4 lymphoma. It's not curable, but it is in remission, thanks to a blood transfusion and chemotherapy.
The coach is now using his battle with cancer as an opportunity to teach an important life lesson to his players.
There are two things coach Maberry loves: football and family. Last January, he thought he would never get to enjoy either again.
“My first thought was who's going to take care of my family,” he recalled.
Instead, Maberry learned how many people were willing to take care of him. Those in high school football raised money for his treatment. The community raised awareness by starting the #maberrystrong. Coaches, like cancer survivor and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano sent a free copy of his book.
“I had college coaches, Coach Maguire, Coach Beatty and the whole entire team from the KU Jayhawks sent me cards,” Maberry said.
His players had their own way of offering support with the biggest turnout for summer workouts in the history of the program.
The entire journey for Coach Maberry has been heartwarming and emotional. But don't think coach will be any less tough on the Tigers.
“Coach Maberry is like my hero,” said player Layton Ernst. “Just seeing how he fought with him and be here at the first practice yelling at us, it's great.”
But it's not just about teaching the game of football. There are lessons he hopes can be learned from his personal fight.
“When I didn't have my eyes in the right spot, mentally, I struggled,” the coach said. “If you aren't focused on what you need to be focused on, you're not going to succeed.”
Maberry says his battle with lymphoma will last the rest of his life, but he'll always have support from his football family.
Coach Maberry's next checkup is on September 12. The season begins for Mansfield on August 31 when they travel to Oklahoma to take on Broken Arrow.