Seven months ago, Mansfield head coach Daniel Maberry received news no one wants to hear.
He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma.
But with the power of faith and the support from his family and community, Maberry was cancer free by June.
“I was more thankful than anything,” he said. “My family and I have gone through a lot through this whole thing and to hear the doctor say that – it was a relief – and I’m unbelievably grateful. God has been really good to us.”
But with lymphoma, it’s never gone.
Maberry went in for a bone marrow biopsy a month ago and it showed no traceable lymphoma. He still goes to the doctor every three months for blood work.
“There is no cure for it,” he said. “It’s in remission. It’s not active. Other than that I’m feeling great and ecstatic.”
Maberry had doubts if he’d coach the spring season. He started a new treatment, but his blood numbers were so low he couldn’t receive chemotherapy.
He had to get multiple blood transfusions, but his body finally responded.
Those that know and care about him, and even those just wanting to lend a helping hand, responded in a major way too.
A GoFundMe was created when the news broke in January. Over $83,000 was raised in five months.
“God has used the people around us to lift us up,” Maberry said. “It was a kick in the gut when you get the news, but the community has been amazing. The GoFundMe wasn’t really about the money, but more so the support people were showing us. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Now the focus is on the 2018 season where the Tigers are coming off back-to-back trips to the regional round in Maberry’s first two seasons as head coach. Mansfield has gone 21-5 over that span.
The Tigers, who won two district titles in 4-6A, were reclassified in 7-6A with Lake Ridge, Summit, Waxahachie, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, South Grand Prairie and Grand Prairie.
“There are a lot of good teams and you can’t rest. You have to bring you A-game each and every week,” Maberry said. “We have a young team, but it’s a group of kids that have worked hard to give themselves a chance at success.”
The Tigers graduated 53 seniors, including DBs Cam Jones and Corbin Frederick, both at Nebraska, and Jackson Gleeson, who went to Baylor.
“Our mentality has always been ‘next man up’ and that was the challenge for us last year. Our goal was to be better than the group before and the kids proved they can win some games,” Maberry said. “It’s the same this year too. Who’s going to step up and make plays to give us a chance to win. The seniors we have are great and I’m expecting big things from this group as well.”
Mansfield will start fall practices on Aug. 13. Its first game is during the Border Brawl when all five Mansfield schools travel to Oklahoma. The Tigers play state power Broken Arrow on Aug. 31.
“It’s a really cool experience and all the high schools are excited about it,” Maberry said. “The kids get to play a team out of state and I don’t think that’s happened at Mansfield. We tried to pick the five toughest schools to play. It will be a tough match-up with Broken Arrow. They have one of the best defenses in the state of Oklahoma and their offense is really solid.”
But throughout this whole journey, Maberry said the biggest thing he’s learned is the importance of relationships with people on a daily basis. He received so many calls, texts and emails, he’s lost track of the number of people that have reached out.
“My wife and I have been thinking of all the people to truly thank, we’ve made a list but we’re running out of room there’s so many,” Maberry said. “We don’t want to leave anyone out, it’s been unbelievable.”
He does recall two instances involving a college recruiter from Illinois and the Kansas football team.
“One of the coolest things is when a college recruiter was trying to find me. I wasn’t in my office, but he kept calling me. We finally met up one morning and talked about a few players,” Maberry said. “He wanted to talk about some players, but in all reality he came by to pray with me and it was one of the coolest experiences I ever had. It showed me that it wasn’t just the game of football, but it was about the relationships with people and how much people cared. Kansas reached out and each player wrote me a card. Baylor and Matt Rhule have also reached out. The coaching community has been amazing.
“The cool thing about this journey is that any time I was struggling or am feeling down, a new person would be calling me out of the blue to pick me up. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, but so many blessing came out it. So many things I learned and hope to share with others.”