Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Right down to his roots, Matt Terry is as humble as they arrive. A local of Moulton, a quaint, northwest Alabama city of about 3,500 individuals, the 51-year-old Terry has all the time thought-about himself one of many lucky ones, so blessed that he truly will get to educate golf for a dwelling. From making $250 per 30 days as a junior-college assistant to now six seasons into the job as head males’s coach at Louisiana Tech, Terry stays unchanged in his profession evaluation.

“I don’t suppose too extremely of myself,” Terry admits. “I’m fortunate sufficient to drive a van for a gaggle of men, and I get to put on some free gear.”

In reality, when it got here to his occupation, Terry would typically joke with fellow coaches, “We’re not curing most cancers; we’re simply teaching golf.”

Immediately, Terry finds himself confronted with each.

Terry was recruiting in Miami, Florida, two weeks in the past when he obtained a cellphone name from his spouse of 26 years. Dixie Terry was supposed to hitch her husband on the journey so they might rejoice their birthdays and anniversary – Jan. 5, because it seems, has thrice the significance. However Dixie stayed again, apprehensive that she had the flu, and as a substitute noticed a physician. Her bloodwork raised some considerations, and she or he was referred to a hospital in West Monroe, Louisiana, about 30 miles east of the Terrys’ dwelling in Ruston, for additional testing.

Matt, after scrambling to re-book his flight and driving four-plus hours from New Orleans, met his spouse on the hospital round 3 a.m. that subsequent morning.

“I used to be praying it was simply an an infection,” Matt stated, “however I had a intestine feeling it was one thing unhealthy.”

That worry has since materialized: Dixie, additionally a mom of three, was recognized with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a sort of most cancers of the blood and bone marrow.

Whereas it could possibly progress quickly with out therapy, A.L.L. additionally has a comparatively excessive remedy price if fought with the identical aggressiveness. As a university golf coach who constructed each packages at Troy into constant regional presences within the mid-2010s, Matt acknowledges the make-up of profitable groups. So, when he and Dixie first arrived at Baylor Scott & White T. Boone Pickens Most cancers Hospital in Dallas final Thursday, Matt knew instantly Dixie had the suitable teammates round her as she started the battle of her life.

If the Bentley and two Rolls-Royces within the valet line on the hospital didn’t give it away, it was the physician who advised Dixie, confidently, “We’re going to place you in remission, after which we’re going to remedy you.”

Dixie had her fourth spherical of chemotherapy on Monday morning. The gameplan requires 28 days of inpatient therapy, which Matt, metaphorically talking, in comparison with spraying herbicide on a yard after which regrowing the grass. About half of these days will embrace double doses of chemo, an entire new which means to two-a-days. After the 4 weeks are over, Dixie can go dwelling for 2 weeks earlier than returning to Dallas for follow-ups.

Now, although, it’s time to battle like hell.

As Matt advised Dixie final Sunday evening earlier than she started chemo, she’s constructed for this.

“Dixie’s the hardest particular person I do know, interval,” Matt stated. “She’s prepared for this battle.”

DIXIE TERRY WAS A THREE-SPORT athlete in junior faculty earlier than happening to star in softball and volleyball on the College of North Alabama. Matt remembers seeing Dixie’s title, then Dixie McCreless, within the newspaper on many events, however they did not meet till the summer time after Dixie graduated faculty. Matt had not too long ago flunked out of the College of Alabama and was visiting a buddy, who performed soccer at UNA, when he first noticed Dixie strolling down the steps on the Kappa Sigma fraternity home. That evening, the 2 talked for hours at Cheers, a campus bar.

“We knew inside per week that we had been going to get married,” says Matt, who two years later proposed on a mutual buddy’s sports activities radio present. Excellent for 2 athletes turned coaches.

A number of years after they had been married, Dixie retired to change into a stay-at-home mother. However her teaching instincts remained. Matt has no downside giving his spouse many of the credit score for elevating each robust and caring children – daughters Mya, now 22, and Alyssa, 19; and son Sawyer, 12. When Matt was away throughout the faculty golf season or recruiting, it was Dixie shuttling the children to apply or tournaments of their very own.

Nevertheless it’s not simply her personal children. Dixie additionally relishes her different position, as staff mother.

“My gamers,” Matt says, “they’re hurting as a result of they’re shut together with her. Her coronary heart’s so massive. She loves on them. Something they want, she’s there.”

Earlier than the Terrys launched into the four-hour journey to Dallas final week, Matt carved out quarter-hour to satisfy along with his staff at their dwelling course, Squire Creek Nation Membership. With qualifying for the Bulldogs’ Feb. 5-6 spring opener in Ponte Vedra Seaside, Florida, simply days from starting, Matt delivered the unhealthy information.

“I used to be trustworthy with them,” Matt stated. “I advised them I didn’t know after I’d be with them once more.”

With no paid assistant on workers, Louisiana Tech will take a coach-by-committee method in Matt’s absence. Touring with the staff to occasions might be Kyle Buffolino, the varsity’s assistant athletics director for compliance companies and the 2020 membership champion at Squire Creek. Volunteer assistants – APGA professional Ryan Alford and Ryder Cupper Sam Burns – will assist when their schedules allow. Squire Creek’s head professional, Robert Smith, and director of instruction, Brad Pullin, may even keep watch over issues. Graduate pupil James Swash was handed the keys throughout the squad, and he’s already responded by main qualifying by means of two rounds.

“I’m lucky that that’s who we’re at Louisiana Tech,” Matt stated. “Individuals step up.”

They aren’t the one ones.

EAST TENNESSE STATE’S JAKE AMOS is without doubt one of the prime younger coaches within the nation. When he started as an assistant at his alma mater, Augusta State, in 2011, Matt Terry was among the many first to welcome Amos to the fraternity and supply steering.

“He grew to become an amazing buddy and mentor, he has no ego and is so humble and enthusiastic about golf and his occupation,” Amos stated. “He’s all the time fast to select up the cellphone and name you when issues aren’t going properly. You get numerous texts when issues are going properly, however Matt’s the kind of man who calls you and texts you once they’re not.”

So, when Amos first heard about Dixie’s most cancers analysis, and understanding Matt can be reluctant to ask his friends for assist, Amos took it upon himself to create a GoFundMe fundraiser for the Terry household. The preliminary aim was $5,000. Some meals and fuel cash, he figured.

By Monday evening, Amos had obtained over $37,000 in donations.

“Unbelievable, man,” Matt says, virtually speechless, as he scrolls by means of the listing of contributors. He remembers when he took his first head teaching job at Shelton State Group Faculty in 1999; his wage was $25,000, “and I assumed I used to be wealthy,” he laughs. A number of years later, when he signed on to steer each the boys’s and girls’s groups at Troy, he received a pay bump … to $35,000.

It’s by no means been in regards to the cash, however on this case?

“My satisfaction is in my pocket,” Matt says. “We’re right here 28 days, and I don’t know what’s forward for us. I don’t know what bills we’re going to have. That is God making an attempt to say, ‘You’re going to wish this, dude.’”

Fellow coaches have made up a large chunk of the donations. Georgia’s Chris Haack, Baylor’s Mike McGraw, Texas Tech’s Greg Sands, LSU’s Chuck Winstead, Tennessee’s Brennan Webb, Stanford’s Conrad Ray and Texas A&M’s Brian Kortan are amongst those that have given $500. Mark Anthony, an enormous supporter of faculty golf, is the highest donor at $1,500. And even execs reminiscent of Chase Koepka and Scott Harrington have chipped in with tons of of {dollars}.

Equally, if no more significant have been those that have picked up the cellphone, whether or not to uplift the Terrys in prayer or just to speak. Shut teaching buddies reminiscent of Nichols State’s James Schilling, North Texas’ Brad Stracke and South Florida’s Steve Bradley have reached out. Haack known as simply hours after the CFP Nationwide Championship, gained by Georgia, and Haack’s spouse provided to fly from Athens to Dallas simply to sit down with Dixie.

Florida State’s Trey Jones maybe supplied probably the most impactful phrases of encouragement. To paraphrase, Matt stated Jones advised him, “You’ve accomplished all this for this lengthy to construct you up for this second to have the ability to deal with this.”

If such conversations have taught Matt something, it is that he and Dixie will not be going at this alone.

“So don’t worry, for I’m with you; don’t be dismayed, for I’m your God. I’ll strengthen you and assist you; I’ll uphold you with my righteous proper hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10

IT’S IN HIS D.N.A. as a golf coach, Matt admits, to need to have management, to have the ability to repair the illnesses that have an effect on these near him. In his daily, it’s normally poor course administration or inconsistent placing strokes. The scariest half about Dixie’s most cancers, he says, is that it’s rendered him ineffective in that sense.

“It’s probably the most helpless feeling,” he explains, “when you may’t assist your spouse, and all you are able to do is simply be there.”

However the Terry household has skilled the wickedness of most cancers earlier than. Matt’s mom died of lymphoma 14 years in the past, and Matt nonetheless remembers listening to his dad cry, a rarity, as he fielded a name throughout a rain delay at a girls’s event in Faculty Station, Texas, earlier than speeding to Houston to be along with his mother.

That second, like so many in Matt’s life, have bolstered his religion. He’s presently studying a ebook that talks about God’s plan, and the way it’s actual.

“However we regularly undergo life considering it’s the flawed time and flawed place,” Matt provides. “I’m not ready for this second had I not gone by means of that with my mom.”

This time, there’s a palpable sense of calmness that surrounds Matt, Dixie and their household.

It’s been 5 days and the tv in Dixie’s hospital room has but to be turned on. As an alternative, the Terrys, together with their three children, go the time enjoying numerous video games of Hangman. They undergo previous images, they usually take loads of new ones. Additionally they speak and chortle lots.

In quieter moments, they learn the Bible, they usually pray.

For Dixie.

For her staff of medical doctors and nurses.

For God’s will to be accomplished.

“That is one other one among God’s blessings to convey us nearer, my household nearer, my pals nearer,” Matt says. “I advised my spouse, that is going to be our alternative to speak to nurses and medical doctors about our religion, and the place God is in our lives, and the place God must be in everybody’s lives. I don’t thoughts saying it. I’m 51 years previous. I’m on the tail finish of my profession. I’m not a younger man anymore. And these younger coaches want to grasp: Maintain your religion and your loved ones actually shut as you begin out, and also you get married, and also you begin having children. You higher keep actually near that, to your spouse, to your youngsters. You may nonetheless do an amazing job, you may nonetheless be a championship coach, and concentrate on your loved ones.”

Matt Terry would possibly downplay his consequence as a golf coach. However in the case of being a husband and father, there’s nothing extra vital.

Particularly proper now.

By Admin

Leave a Reply