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Local coach Knapp's cancer now in remission

Photo by Paul Dehner

Photo by Paul Dehner

ALBANY -- Retired head football coach Ted "Rock" Knapp's coaching record is 149-41-1 after ending his most recent stint last season at Sherwood Christian Academy.

His earned his biggest win, however, Tuesday, and it was not even on the football field. That's when he discovered his cancer is in remission for the first time.

"It was the single-best news you can get," said Knapp, who was eating a hamburger he cooked himself Tuesday.

His son, Nile, who is a Southwest Georgia Academy running back, said he could not remember the last time Knapp -- who retired after the 2008 season to deal with his cancer -- even attempted to make dinner.

"It's a special day with him being in remission," Nile said. "We had been looking forward to this day for quite a while now."

Knapp, who was diagnosed last year with multiple melanoma and amyloidosis, said there is now very little trace of either disease.

"Because of that, the doctor classified it as a complete remission," Knapp said. "It's been a little over a year process to get to this place. There was no guarantee of partial remission, or that the (stem cell) transplants would work or anything else."

In late October 2008, on the very day Knapp ended chemotherapy, he coached Sherwood Christian to a victory that clinched the program's first winning season while his son played a huge role.

Between that point and now, Knapp had been preparing for the moment he could only concentrate on football instead of dealing with cancer. On Monday night, however, while staying with his family in Atlanta, Knapp could not sleep. It was not, however, because of fear of what doctors might say.

"I got up a couple of times worried about how well Bulloch Academy runs that veer offense, and that's who we are going to play in the second round," said Knapp, who now is an assistant at Southwest Georgia Academy and coaches from the press box when he can. Southwest Georgia defeated Strong Rock, 40-10, in the first round of the GISA Class AA playoffs.

Knapp has lost 45 pounds, but has plans to make up for that in the gym.

"I can start working out (today)," Knapp said. "I just told (wife) Shari that I'm going to get back in the weight room and start walking and start exercising."

In walking, Knapp would make a full circle from the time "Rock's Run" was held in the offseason to raise funds for cancer. After that event, Knapp was so tired from the walk that he realized he would not be able to be a head coach on the sidelines.

After Knapp retired, he was replaced by Reggie Mitchell, who coached Sherwood to the Region 3-AA title and a 41-8 first-round win against Nathanael Greene.

"It was the first time in 30 years at the high school level that I had not been a head coach," Knapp said. "Working as an assistant was very enjoyable because it kept my mind off the disease. I have enjoyed coaching my son and working with the other coaches."

Now, he is looking forward to possibly coming OUT of retirement and becoming a head coach again one day.

"My goal, right now, is if I'm going to have several good years, which I hope for, I'm going to get back into coaching, as being a head coach," Knapp said. "That's certainly a possibility now."