In May of this year, Tolland football coach Scott Cady sent his players a text message. Not a time for a lift or a schedule for practice. Cady was telling his players: he had cancer.
“I just remember reading it and standing up and leaving,” said Tolland football senior captain Brady Gordon.
Cady kept most of the prognosis to himself. He had stage 4 peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare cancer on the lining of the abdomen.
“I didn't want the young people in town worrying about the old guy,” said Cady.
He has three children of his own and more than 50 other on the football field. Cady didn’t have them worrying, he had support.
”Our first step was to do what Coach Cady would want us to do: focus on the team,” said Gordon.
And that team had a new goal for the offseason: whatever coach needs.
“The first thing I think they did is they took me for a haircut,” said Cady. “Ryan [Carlson] showed up in his Jeep.”
“Took the top off the Jeep,” Carlson, another senior captain, said. “And you know he loves rock and roll music so we were blasting rock and roll music.”
It’s not a challenge to Carlson. Instead, it’s making memories. From haircuts to landscaping and fundraising, there was no question the Eagles would be there for Cady, but would Cady be there when the season started? Everyone already knew that answer.
"I said to myself there's no frickin’ way I'm not coaching this team,” said Cady. “I'm coaching this team."
So they wouldn't let him down either.
“I think the best way to make him feel better is to win games,” said Gordon. “Looking at him after we win games it the same smile we all do. Just proud.”
Cady and the Eagles finished with a 7-3 record this season.