High School Football

Mansfield head coach will miss start of 2019 season as he continues to battle cancer

Mansfield community raises money for football coach

The Angel family in Mansfield and a number of volunteers helped raise money for head football coach Daniel Maberry, who is battling cancer.
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The Angel family in Mansfield and a number of volunteers helped raise money for head football coach Daniel Maberry, who is battling cancer.

The Mansfield community loves its pickle parades, good football and Daniel Maberry.

Maberry has been in the Mansfield school district for over 20 years. While he has coached in some of its biggest high school football games, he continues to battle his biggest fight: cancer.

He’s been battling the disease since January 2018. He first beat it during that summer and was clear for most of the football season, but the Stage 4 lymphoma returned in October.

Maberry may miss the entire 2019 season.

Offensive coordinator Greg George, who was named interim head coach, is hopeful he returns.

“That’s when Daniel removed himself from the program to take care of himself,” said George, who enters his 17th season with Mansfield. “We were always in discussions about the possibility of me becoming interim coach.”

Then he got a visit in the spring from Mansfield ISD Director of Athletics Philip O’Neal.

“Coach O’Neal came into the office and said, ‘This is how we’re going to do things when Daniel isn’t here,’” George said. “Hoping he’s back mid-season, maybe earlier, but it’s unknown when he’ll return. We want him back. He’s a great man.”

George was interim head coach for the final four games of last season.

“We felt if we went with someone outside the program that it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the kids and our coaches,” O’Neal said. “We may get someone that would do things differently than coach Maberry and we didn’t want to shake that up.”

Mansfield Tigers
Mansfield Tigers head coach Daniel Maberry, left, awaits the signal to send his team onto the field at Newsom Stadium in Mansfield. The Tigers beat Arlington, 43-14. Brad Loper Special to the Star-Telegram

Dedicated to Maberry

The Tigers struggled last season with a 3-7 record, but continue to dedicate everything they do for Maberry. They will continue to showcase green ribbons on their uniforms and helmets, and wear wristbands that say “Maberry Strong.”

Mansfield made history this summer when it qualified for the state 7-on-7 tournament for the first time.

“This season is dedicated to Coach Maberry,” junior quarterback Hunt Young said. “He’s not going to be there on the sideline so we want to give him recognition for everything we do. I just hope he gets better.”

The community has also raised money for the Maberry family.

Over $83,000 was raised in five months through GoFundMe during the spring of 2018. The community raised more money when it hosted two barbecue dinners; $6,000 in February of 2018 and over $10,000 in June.

“The guys are always asking about him so I’ll update them, tell them how things are doing,” George said. “The things I do and decisions I make, I always think about what Daniel would do. He’s always in the forefront of any decisions I make.

“I got to see him a couple days ago. He lost some weight, but looks good and sounds good, and that’s a breath of fresh air because he had a pretty rough summer.”

Head football coach Daniel Maberry, who's been battling lymphoma since January 2018, threw out the first pitch during a home softball game April 9, 2019. Video credit by Shelley Hamilton.

Mansfield family

Maberry joined Mansfield High as an assistant football and track coach when the current campus opened in 2002. He won a “Best Coach” award at the school in 2010. Before moving to Mansfield High, he coached at Worley Middle School.

“To have an opportunity to lead our team and staff, I’m glad it was me or anyone else here and that it didn’t come from the outside,” George said. “That’s the only positive to take away from this.”

The Tigers open the season hosting Broken Arrow (Tulsa, Okla.) on Aug. 31. They play Arlington Bowie in Week 2 at the Cotton Bowl and play Mansfield Legacy in Week 3 before starting District 7-6A.

“We’ll text back and forth just checking up on each other,” Young said. “He continues to watch film from his house or hospital and we’ll discuss the things I’m doing right and things I’m doing wrong. It’s like he’s still there because he’s so involved.”

“We feel like this is a cohesive staff. They’re like family and they really exemplify what it means to be a football staff. Daniel’s not there to lead them, but coach George has filled that role and the team continues to thrive on what coach Maberry has developed,” O’Neal added. “Daniel has done an incredible job creating an environment and team atmosphere. He’ll be missed, but we feel like they’ll be in a good place when he comes back leading that program.”

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.