Coach battling cancer finally sees his team become state champs

Posted at 7:56 PM, Dec 01, 2014

Oak Grove, MO  -- An Oak Grove football coach fighting cancer finally got to see one of his biggest dreams come true.

After 40 years at the high school, he got to see his team win the state championship game."I used to try to teach them how to introduce themselves," said George Pirch, who has been coaching the Oak Grove football team for more than 40 years. One of his biggest hopes was that his words stuck, reports WDAF.

"I just tell them to remember to give a firm handshake and eye contact. You're not trying to hypnotize them but look them in the eye," he said.

After giving so much of his heart to the school, Coach Pirch recently had to walk away. He has kidney cancer that has spread throughout his body.

Family and friends created a Facebook page with thousands of fans called "Pulling for Pirch." As he started treatment, he got news that his team was headed to the state championship game.

"It took a few years to get it. But these fellas worked hard," Pirch said.

Pirch's doctors cleared him to go to the game and he sat in the stands cheering on his boys.

"I was a happy camper as they say!" he said.

"We wanted to do something for him. Being seniors we always want to do something big for Coach Pirch because he's been with us and we had to go out with a bang," Senior Aaron Graham said.

For the first time, the Oak Grove football team won the championship game.

"I was just elated when they won. If I could've done a cartwheel I would've! Or maybe two of 'em!" Pirch said.

"This was making history," Graham said.

But it wasn't just for the trophy. It was to show Coach Pirch that his words did stick.

"From teaching us on how to have a firm proper handshake and keep eye contact. That was the biggest thing that stuck with all of us. It's everything we talk about because he teaches us how to become young men," Graham said.

"We do all this for him. He's the main backbone for this team. To know he was there to see us make history was a great feeling," Senior Zach Hipsher said.