OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV)-Shawnee Mission South head coach Brett McFall has shared a sideline with his assistant for the past seven years.
John McFall is also a Kansas Basketball Coaches Association hall of famer, as well as the father of Brett.
“Most days, fine,” John smiled.
“Most days,” Brett replied.
The father-son duo have a total of 74 years of high school coaching experience in metro Kansas City.
“It teaches you to let yourself down,” John said. “You have to get up. You can’t just lie there and feel sorry for yourself.
This season brought that message to life for both men.
After 24 cancer-free years, John’s wife and Brett’s mom, Gina, received devastating news this past Labor Day.
“Her breast cancer had come back, metastasized and moved to her abdomen and chest,” John said.
“When they got him, I mean, he’s everywhere. Phase four,” Brett said. “Which blew us away, because we had no idea.”
John and Gina have 19 grandchildren. Six of them belong to Brett and his wife of 43 years Lori.
Shaken by the news of Gina’s diagnosis, they were struck by another unexpected shock less than three months later and two days after Christmas.
Lori was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My wife, she’s so amazing,” Brett said. “He said, ‘I will use this trial, this tribulation, as an opportunity to glorify God and show other people that you can overcome situations like this.’ Here I’m worried, like, every single day and she’s just fighting, doing great with a lot of faith.
Despite the fear and uncertainty, the McFalls continue to coach the SMS Raiders.
“When we get on the pitch, they know it’s business,” John said. “It’s business when we enter the field.”
And, as they have done every game for the past seven years, they are taking on this opponent together.
“He’s always been there for me,” Brett said.
“In the game of basketball, it’s about being prepared and knowing you’re ready for any situation,” John said. “I think that’s life too, you know?”
“You wake up every morning and remember your wife has cancer,” Brett said. “But it’s been a special season and we have a phenomenal group of guys. And they are so much fun to work with. And he was my right hand man the whole time.
A family friend started a GoFundMe campaign to help with McFall’s medical bills. You can donate here.