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High school football: Carl Albert coordinator Mike Corley gets support from team in cancer fight

While Carl Albert defensive coordinator Mike Corley underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he received a visit from some of his players that meant a lot to him.
by Ryan Aber Published: September 13, 2012
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photo - Carl Albert assistant coach Mike Corley talks with Carl Albert players before a high school football game between Carl Albert and Coweta in Midwest City, Friday, September 7, 2012.
Carl Albert assistant coach Mike Corley talks with Carl Albert players before a high school football game between Carl Albert and Coweta in Midwest City, Friday, September 7, 2012.

Every day during those lifts and when practices began, Corley was remembered, though.

The players had wristbands made up with “Coach Corley” on one side and “Isaiah 41:10” on the other.

Corley opened his Bible shortly after the diagnosis and landed on the verse. It's become a near-daily prayer for the Titans.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The chemotherapy made him nauseous. The radiation first irritated his throat, then forced him to eat through a feeding tube and eventually made even breathing a chore.

He lost 35 pounds through the process.

“I probably could've stood to lose about 20,” Corley said. “I'm back to my high school wrestling weight.”

Since treatment ended in early August, Corley has felt progressively better.

For the last two weeks, he's been eating through his mouth. Food is regaining its taste.

“We had incredible support from everybody,” Teah said. “The quarterback club, the administration and coaches there at Carl Albert, his work, my work. We always had a meal it seemed like.

“The bad part of it is Mike couldn't enjoy all the food we had. We froze some of it so Mike would get to taste it when he was able to again.”

Mike made it up to Carl Albert when he was physically able. He started coming to meet with coaches, and then went out for the defensive portion of practice.

He's coached the first two games from the press box.

This week, he's returned for half-days at school. Corley arrives in the morning and returns home for rest before football practice.

Next week, he hopes to return to work full time. Corley wants to coach from the field in the Titans' district opener against Deer Creek.

Next Thursday, he returns to the doctor to determine the next course of action, likely surgery to remove what remains of the lump.

Corley said the mass was the size of a “Titleist golf ball” when treatment started. It has been reduced to the size of a dime.

“They feel pretty confident about it,” Corley said of his doctors. “We're praying (the remaining mass) is not cancerous, but if it is, we'll just keep attacking it.”

A part of that talk with Rose immediately after the diagnosis centered on the example Corley had a chance to set for his players.

“That's what football teaches you, to get through adversity,” Corley said. “Coach Rose said: ‘You're going to get an opportunity to prove that you can do what you've been coaching them to do. You're going to have adversity and you're going to have to get through it.'”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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Class 5A No. 9 Carl Albert (0-2) at No. 8 Duncan (1-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Halliburton Stadium, Duncan

Scouting report: Carl Albert is 0-2 for the first time since 2005, when it went 5-6. ... The Titans have beaten the Demons in each of the last six seasons, including a 30-27 in overtime during the 2010 season. ... Duncan held Weatherford to less than 200 yards of total offense last week in a 12-7 win.

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