A Virginia football coach isn’t letting the fact that he started cancer treatment last week keep him from coaching his team in the playoffs.
Cosby (Midlothian, Va.) coach Pete Mutascio began treatment last week for throat cancer after being diagnosed in September. His six-week course of radiation and chemotherapy started last Tuesday.
“The prognosis is good,” Mutascio told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The doctor said everything should be fine.”
“Hopefully I’ll be coaching through (the end of) my treatment,” he added, meaning the Titans would be playing in the 6A state championship game Dec. 10.
Mutascio told the Times-Dispatch that he kept having a sore throat over the summer and thought it was allergies. Mutascio’s physician sent him to an ear, nose and throat specialist. It was there that the specialist discovered a tumor at the base of Mutascio’s tongue.
“It was a little kick in the groin,” he said. “I’ve always told my daughters and the kids that life is nothing but a bunch of obstacles or challenges or types of adversity we’re going to face, and this is just one more thing.”
Mutascio told his players about the diagnosis after a practice in mid-October.
“A lot of the seniors he’s close to came up and gave him a hug,” Cosby activities director Mickey Swartz told the Times-Dispatch. “He said, ‘Well, we’re not dying.’ That lifted the weight off everybody’s shoulders and kind of put everything in perspective that he’s still working hard and the team needs to work and improve every day. He preached that anyway, but this kind of put a whole new light on it. He is very, very upbeat about it.
“You can see they’ve been getting better trying to play the game for him in a way, to show him that they’re there for him.”
A special education teacher, Mutascio has been the coach at Cosby since the school started playing varsity football in 2006. The team has been in the playoffs the last four years.
“We’re living life and living it to the fullest,” Mutascio said. “We’re not stopping what we’re doing as a family, and I’m not stopping what I’m doing as a coach and a teacher. We’re going through life as we normally do.”
Cosby (5-5), the No. 8 seed, plays No. 1 Manchester (9-1) in Friday’s first round of the 6A South playoffs. The team will surely have some extra motivation.