Consistent, authentic, loyal: BG's Chance receives KHQA's Hometown Heroes award
On a cool fall day in Bowling Green, MO last week, Bowling Green High School filled its gym with students, faculty, and community members to pause to honor Matt Chance.
His battle with cancer is well documented and his victory over the disease inspires the entire Tri-State region.
"He is very much a father figure and someone I look up to a lot," Senior Max Brandenburger explained. "I'd do anything for him.."
Matt Chance's goal in life is to push each student to exceed expectations.
We love coach chance and we would never want to let him down," Senior Kate Klott said.
"My inspiration and kind of a hero right now," friend and former student Brad Kurz added.
20 years of trophies and banners ...losing their luster on April 13th, 2017. It's the day coach chance was diagnosed with oral cancer .
"We had our assistant coach tell us," Klott shared. "We just went into the locker room and cried."
"15 days before practice started," Current Bowling Green High School Athletic Director Matt Chance explained. "I told my family I'll be there at the first day of practice and they said no way you can be there."
Treatment began June 1st that year. Seven grueling weeks of chemo and radiation treatment he said makes your body feel as bad as it ever will.
"But I was able to get through last season," Chance shared. "I wanted them to see there will be negative things that happen in your life all the time and I wanted them to see it's how you respond to those negative things.."
As "chance" would have it, the team brought home a third place trophy for coach.
"It just shows his athletes past and present that everything he says is real, it's not lip service," Kurz shared with a smile. "He's authentic in those messages he teaches kids because he lives his life the exact same way."
"I've learned not to take things for granted," Chance explained. "I obviously didn't think at age 43 I'd be dealing with cancer."
14 months after his cancer diagnosis, coach was ready to tackle the Hannibal Cannibal 5K Race. He didn't just finish that race, he placed third and won his age division.
"Even though it's been a year, I'm really enjoying life more now than I ever have," Chance said.
"Matt's body of work shows us if you do good consistently all that builds up and you will see great results in the end," Kurz explained. "That might look like trophies from state cross country teams but it also might look like a gym full of community members who want to say thanks for being you."
Chance is a top 15 finalist in U-S Cellular's national contest.
US Cellular presented Chance last week with a $5,000 check to the school.
Coach was voted on by students and community members.
If he wins, he earns Bowling Green High a $50,000 grant, plus another $30,000 tech package from Samsung.
You can vote daily for Coach Chance at TheMostValuableCoach.com