ASHEVILLE – Charlie Metcalf will bow his head and clasp his hands a lot in the days to come.
The longtime Asheville High assistant football coach believes that prayer is the best medicine for his third bout with cancer since 2013.
“The Lord has taken care of me twice, I know he is going to do it again,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf, 63, is flying out to Houston next week to see if he is a candidate for a cutting-edge form of treatment. He has previously gotten radiation both locally, and at Duke University since his original diagnosis with Stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Metcalf’s wife, Miriam, recently discovered a knot on his neck. And everyone’s worst fears were confirmed shortly thereafter with formal tests.
As in the past, Metcalf said he wanted to be sure that everyone in the Cougars program was aware of the news before he went public with it. Metcalf has three different job titles in his 13th season with the Mountain Athletic Conference team – assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“It’s one of those things where unfortunately we’ve all been through it before and everyone has been so supportive,” Metcalf said.
“It’s encouraging to be around a group of kids and fellow coaches like this every day. But it’s like I tell them, ‘Guys, I’m nothing special.’ Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer.”
Metcalf also teaches U.S. History at Asheville. Ideally, he prefers that his time in the classroom and on the field will be impacted as little as possible by his treatment — Metcalf’s appointment in Texas falls during a bye week for the Cougars.
Asheville (1-2) plays at undefeated Southern Lee (2-0) on Friday.
Metcalf represented the mountains as an assistant coach in the 2015 Shrine Bowl. He had been a head and assistant coach for 11 years at High Point Andrews before coming to Asheville in 2004.
The Asheville community has set up a GoFundMe page to help the Metcalf family with expenses related to his medical care at this link.
Every cancer has a specific color that is worn by loved ones and friends in a show of support. The color for lymphoma is lime green. Cougars coach David Burdette said his team has affixed lime-green stickers to the right side of every helmet. Asheville coaches will be wearing lime-green ribbons on their hats.
“Charlie doesn’t want to make this a big deal. He has impacted so many lives, but he has always put other people before him even in every case,” Burdette said.
“Even when something like this affects him, he wants to put the team first, and he wants to put me first. The thing about Charlie is that he’s all about work when he’s here. It’s all about work and nothing else. It sucks to see this happen to somebody who gives so much to so many people, but we are going to rally around him.”