HASKELL, Texas (BCH Sports) – Mitch McLemore has coached for 31 years and is in his second year as head coach for the Haskell Indians. During his time there, he’s been fighting for his life.

Speaking on his diagnosis, Coach McLemore told BCH Sports, “I was scared at first. There was about five minutes there where I had trouble breathing. Then I remembered what my Savior did for me.”

Mitch McLemore as Head Coach in Petrolia, 2020

Starting in the spring of 2021, Coach McLemore said he had trouble eating things. After he concluded his first season with the Indians that December, he fell ill. On a Saturday, he nearly bled out and was rushed to the hospital. There, doctors found a tumor in his throat. Esophageal Cancer was the diagnosis, and it was already Stage 4.

“My wife called and I couldn’t talk, all I could do was really survive,” Coach McLemore recalled. “I think my blood pressure was 40-something over 20-something when the ambulance got there.”

All he’s ever known is coaching. So when he didn’t feel well, he was still there at practice. Although, Coach McLemore said his offensive coordinator didn’t think it was a good idea and had him take several breaks and stay hydrated. That coordinator happens to be his son.

“Pretty much, I didn’t know what to think. I pretty much felt weak right away. I didn’t know what to think or where to go,” Ty McLemore looked back.

Coach Mack added, “Tempo! Remember, y’all set the tempo!”

It wasn’t just Ty in his corner. The entire team was uplifting Coach Mack always telling him, “You got this, Coach!” Those words hollered by Eli Peacock and Nate Roewe.

Peacock included, “Coach Mack is a really tough guy. Obviously he was super sick and was out here at practice everyday, so it’s easy to get behind someone when they’re here for you every single day in 110-degree weather.”

The treatments Coach Mack underwent, of course, weren’t the cheapest. Lucky for him, some goodhearted people in the community silently raised money for him.

“They were taking donations without me knowing, pretty quietly. Then they brought us a check one night for $2,500. It just sort of floored Kim [Coach McLemore’s wife] and I,” Coach said. “It’s hard to talk about. I mean that act of kindness is what you can expect in Haskell, Texas.”

After having his throat stretched for the third time, a miracle happened.

“He’s not as fast as you want,” Coach McLemore added. “He got it back to the size of a quarter is normal, so I could eat again. Prayer works, I said he’s listening. Because my oncologist got back my report, and he said, ‘wow, no cancer.’ I said, ‘that’s good, isn’t it?’ He said, ‘that’s amazing.’ I said, ‘well, He’s an amazing God.'”

Coach McLemore said he has a few people to thank for giving him the chance to coach another day.

“The guy upstairs, Father, God, Lord Jesus: That’s who I have to thank for,” said Coach. “And the people all the prayers. all the people that have prayed.”

Mitch McLemore is the Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union Coach of the Week