This Coach Has A Terminal Illness. It Hasn’t Stopped Him From Losing Every Game.
He may be looking thinner and paler than he once did, but as he hobbles the length of the court on Rhode Island Tech’s storied Providence campus, you wouldn’t know head coach Doug Horner had anything on his mind but his team’s abysmal performance, as he stoically watches them lose yet another game.
Yes, longtime RI Tech fans are aware of the 63-year-old’s longtime battle with pancreatic, ear and testicular cancers, but as they sit there in the stands, they’ll be the first to tell you the tears they’re shedding are not for their team’s stalwart, lesion-covered leader, but merely because the team just committed their third consecutive backcourt violation.
“Doug’s been absolutely amazing throughout all of this,” said University president Marcia Ackerman, who mentioned Horner had gone to practice every day that week with a smile on his face, although she acknowledged this may have just been lingering facial paralysis caused by his last major stroke. “I begged him to stay home last month when he contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but he looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘No, Marcia; if I’m dying, I’m gonna die while neglecting to strategically double team Seton Hall’s star player and blowing a twenty-point lead.’”
Providence itself has even rallied behind Horner as he heroically trudges from blowout to blowout, with the city’s mayor recently presenting the terminal 66-year-old with an honorary pendant inscribed with “25-5,” signifying the team’s previous year 0-25 record, and the five types of mesothelioma he currently has.
Coach Horner himself has also indicated he has no intention of slowing down. “My body may be quitting on me, but that’s not going to stop me from watching my team quit on me, too,” said the hero coach. “I told those kids up until the moment they physically put me in a grave, I’ll always have one more fight in me to lose.”
Horner is planning to travel with his boys next week to watch all the better teams that beat them play in the National Invitational Tournament. But if you’re worried there’s a chance the coach’s prognoses will finally catch up with him, don’t worry: he always loses.