Someone You Should Know: Former WHS Coach Facing His Toughest Opponent
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When someone is sick or hurt, their family usually rallies around them for support. And when your family includes more than 1,800 high school students, you’re sure to feel a lot of that support.
One former Washington High School coach can attest to that as he’s facing one of his biggest opponents yet.
Nate Malchow’s approach to his role as a school administrator is a humble one.
“I’ve been lucky to be doing it for 17 years now and every day is a great day,” said Malchow.
He’s had some pretty great days. Malchow’s led three different teams to state championships during his time coaching girls basketball.
He’s now the athletic director and one of the students’ biggest cheerleaders.
“He’s a very nice person. Like you see him and he’s always cheerful and he’s always ‘How are you doing?’, ‘How’s you day?’, ‘Hope you’re a great day.’, just kind of a friendly face that you see in the hall,” said junior Katie Jansen.
But not all of Malchow’s days have been cheerful these last few months.
“When you hear those words that you have cancer, it’s a little overwhelming. At first, I’ll be honest with you. You think about a lot of things. You think about your family first, how’s that going to affect everything,” said Malchow.
Malchow’s family is more than just the people he goes home to every night. It’s also the entire student body at Washington High.
“He’s such a good person. Like how does such a bad thing happen to someone? And it’s almost unfair, but like you know that someone like him, he has the strength to overcome it,” said junior Helen Nigus.
Warrior nation is now standing up to remind him of that inner strength.
“So its quite easy to come together and rally behind a guy who’s going through something much bigger than a game of football in life,” said supporter Jill Johannsen.
At Friday’s football game, hundreds of students, faculty, fans, and friends showed Malchow they’re rooting for him. With shirts that say “fight like a warrior” and #ChowStrong, they’re letting Malchow know he isn’t alone.
“All the students love him and they feel like they can do something through this,” said supporter Jill Madsen.
All this love isn’t going unnoticed.
“To be coming to work and to have staff and students support that during this time, I’m pretty lucky,” said Malchow.
Malchow’s diagnosis of stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma will require 12 rounds of chemo and radiation treatment.
“They have said one of the best things you can have is a positive attitude, so it’s time for me to be coachable in that aspect and listen to others and to be able ti have that and a lot of that positive attitude comes from the people that are around you,” said Malchow.
To keep that positivity flowing, Malchow is still going to work, so he can be around the students that brighten his day. He also taking notes from his won playbook to coach himself through.
“You’re going to have some big wins, you’re going to have some tough losses, but you control the day, you try to win the day and that’s the same attitude that we’re talking into this,” said Malchow.
Malchow says his cancer diagnosis came after he noticed a lump in his neck and thought to get it checked out. He’s now encouraging other people to do the same.
Malchow hopes to have his treatment wrapped up just in time for March Madness.