Off the Gridiron: Owensboro Catholic assistant coach overcomes major battle


(WEHT) – Owensboro Catholic Assistant Coach Steve Terry is a fighter, and he is living proof to his son and Aces players to never give up.

A lot of coaches earn their team’s respect by their coaching on the field. Terry earned Owensboro Catholic’s respect by his strength off of it.

“Football’s always been a part of my life,” said Terry. “I’ve always loved it. But more than anything, it’s just being around these kids, and being able to hopefully impact them in some way. Some of them know what i’ve been through; you know, some don’t.”

What Terry has been through, has molded him into the man he is today.

When Terry started experiencing unexpected fits of headaches and vomiting back in 2017, he knew he needed to visit a doctor. But he had no idea how devastating his diagnosis would be.

“The next day is when they came back and said, ‘Yeah, you’ve got cancer,” said Terry.

Terry was diagnosed with testicular cancer three years ago. The cancer is normally curable when discovered early. But by the time doctor’s diagnosed Terry, they had found 24 tumors on his chest, and two on his brain.

“I was like a 25 percent chance,” said Terry. “He said I was in the worst five percent of cases he’s ever seen. And so, we knew that it was an uphill battle, but we still never went there.”

Terry and his family kept their faith strong. And with the support of the Owensboro community, he fought cancer head-on.

“When I was diagnosed and people found out,” said Terry, “immediately people were doing things. Bringing us meals when I was home, fundraisers to help pay for some bills. Just anything that we needed, they would do.”

“It is so great,” said Owensboro Catholic Coach Jason Morris. “The love this community pours out for one another, just being a Christ-like example. It’s a special community, and I’m glad I’m part of it.”

After one brain surgery, two rounds of radiation, four other surgeries, and five rounds of chemo, Terry finally beat cancer in 2019. With one hurdle surpassed, Terry was ready for another challenge. A former Owensboro Catholic running back, Terry wanted to return to his alma mater to coach, and Coach Morris was eager to have him.

“Anybody who can battle cancer like that and come back and survive is my kind of guy,” said Morris. “And so, we’re looking for that tough kind of guy who’s also a caring, hard-working guy. He’s just a perfect example for the program.”

So Terry joined the staff as the running backs coach. What made the opportunity even sweeter, was getting to coach his son, Jack. Jack is carrying on his father’s legacy by donning his old number, 25, this season.

The last three years have been a whirlwind for Terry, so anytime he gets the chance to put on a headset for another week of high school football, he never takes it for granted.

“I look around and just think I can’t believe I made it, but I did,” said Terry. “And being out here is just icing on the cake.”

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