Coach gets terminal prognosis
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
October 28, 2012 02:01 AM | 3583 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special to the Marietta Daily journal
Holly Springs resident and Milton assistant coach Michael Scott stands on Milton’s field with wife, Mary Jane, and children, Anthony and Abby. Michael Scott  is battling stage 4 cancer.
Special to the Marietta Daily journal Holly Springs resident and Milton assistant coach Michael Scott stands on Milton’s field with wife, Mary Jane, and children, Anthony and Abby. Michael Scott is battling stage 4 cancer.
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Both homecoming and football will take a backseat Friday at the Cherokee-Milton football game, as the two schools unite in support of Milton assistant coach Michael Scott, a Cherokee County resident diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and given only a few weeks to live by his doctors.

Scott, who is 36 and a resident of Holly Springs, has two children, Abby, 6, and Anthony, 3, with his wife, Mary Jane.

Initially, Scott had planned to enter hospice after the weekend, but he has now made the decision to return home either today or Sunday to spend the remainder of his time with his family, close friends told the Tribune.

The coaching staffs of both Cherokee and Milton are in the process of setting up multiple fundraisers for Scott at Friday’s game, including selling wristbands with the words “Lift Up Coach Scott’ on them for $5 with all of the proceeds going to Scott’s family.

Scott’s daughter, Abby, who attends kindergarten at Liberty Elementary School, will be honored as the Milton fan of the game.

Cherokee, who is hosting the game, will also sell the wristbands during school throughout the week, and just before kickoff Cherokee coach Josh Shaw will give a promotional speech encouraging fans to donate for Scott’s cause.

The cheerleaders from both Milton and Cherokee will be collecting donations throughout the game, will the aim of reaching $5,000 dollars on the night.

Those from the visiting team for the homecoming game said Cherokee has been incredibly supportive.

“Coach Shaw and Cherokee’s administration have been incredible,” said Milton athletic director Gary Sylvestri. “We’re so grateful that they are so willing to help Mike and his family in this time of need.”

“Coach Shaw has been just amazing,” said Milton assistant coach Pete Deweese. “What Cherokee is doing is helping us immensely.”

Though they never coached together, Shaw first got to know Scott through regional weightlifting meets when Shaw was an assistant at Etowah.

“He’s passionate about his football and weightlifting kids,” Shaw said. “From what I saw he did a great job with them; he seemed to have a great relationship with the kids he coached. That’s what I’ve picked up about him from his students.”

Deweese said despite the somber air surrounding the team, Scott has refused to let his players shift their focus away from football.

“It is unbelievable how strong he has been,” Deweese said. “It’s amazing to watch how he tells our kids to just focus on the game. He tells them that this is just another obstacle in life that they have to overcome. He is still a football coach, through and through.”

Deweese went on to describe how Scott was loved not only by his players, but by the whole school as well.

“He is very passionate, and is so memorable to the kids,” Deweese said of his fellow coach, who is also involved in the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “He is always supportive of all the students at Milton. They love him because they know he cares about them.”

Milton’s athletic director said the players are motivated going into the game by their coach’s situation.

“Our kids are determined to rally behind and play for him,” Sylvestri said. “The kids have been using the term ‘Scott Strong’ to call on his strength this week. For the coaches, this last week has been a grind for us, but we’re grinding it out so that we can get a win for him.”

A Facebook page entitled ‘Pray for Michael Scott’ has been set up for those wishing to give the family their support.

Anyone wishing to send donations to the Scotts can do so at www.giveforward.com/miracleformike.
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