Randy Smith: North Georgia’s Miracle Man

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Miracle: An unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God; a very amazing event, thing or achievement.

Coahulla Creek teacher and coach Larry Fleming knows all about miracles; you see, he is one. The fact that he is still teaching and still coaching after 45 years might be enough to classify Fleming as a miracle but all career stats aside, Larry Fleming is a miracle because he is lucky to just be alive.

In June of 2012, he was diagnosed with stage two colon cancer. He was told by his doctors he would first undergo chemo-therapy and radiation treatments, and major surgery would follow. “They were talking about putting a bag in, which would have probably kept me from coaching, or doing much of anything else,” Fleming said . “Stage three cancer means that it’s in your lymph nodes and is spreading through your body. Things were not looking good at all.”

Fleming went through four weeks of chemo and four weeks of radiation treatments, yet when the bell rang at Coahulla Creek High School each morning, he was there for work. “He looked awful, pasty and gray,” assistant principal Stephanie Hungerpiller said of her co-worker. “We checked on him several times a day because we were afraid he was going to pass out.”

After all the treatments were done, doctors said before they did the major surgery and put the bag in place, they wanted to do exploratory surgery to see just what they were facing. At home one evening watching television with his wife Debbie, a strange thing happened to Larry Fleming. “I suddenly felt something, like something moving from the top of my head, down through my body, down my legs and out through the bottom of my feet. Like something was leaving or being forced out of my body. I turned to Debbie and told her, I don’t know what just happened, but I think the Lord just healed me.”

That exploratory surgery Fleming underwent a few days later confirmed his thoughts. The cancer was gone; completely absent from his body. “Some of the nurses told me they had never seen anything like that before. I go back for check-ups every three months, and I’m still cancer free.”

Larry Fleming realizes how lucky he is to still be here, still coaching with his son Chip, and still teaching young people. “When things were not looking so good, there were a lot of prayers going up for me all over the state of Georgia. You know prayer can change a lot of things.”

A reenergized Coach Larry Fleming returned to the football field as an assistant coach this past season and he continues to coach the school’s track program, with his son Chip, who is the head coach. In his 45-year career, Fleming has posted more than a thousand victories in track and field. His football resume is equally impressive. He has been both a head coach and an assistant coach. He played for Lynn Murdock at Rossvile High School and still wears his 1962 State Championship ring. Since entering the education field, Fleming said he has had the privilege of coaching both Coach Murdock’s son and grandson in football. In all, he has been part of 20 region championships through the years.

Larry Fleming is 66 years old, and says he has no plans to retire anytime soon. He has a granddaughter who will be an incoming freshman next fall. “I’d like to be around about four more years or so,” he said with a huge smile.

Every school needs an inspiration or even a “miracle man.” Coahulla Creek High School is very lucky to have Larry Fleming as their very own.

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past forty-five years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a seventeen year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: randy_smith@whitfield.k12.ga.us



Lookouts Bounce Back Wednesday With 9-3 Win Over Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Chattanooga Lookouts broke a 3-3 tie with a five-run seventh inning on the way to a 9-3 win over the Jacksonville Suns in front of 3,154 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Wednesday night. After falling to Jacksonville Tuesday, Chattanooga bounced back with a big win Wednesday. The win moved the Lookouts to just four games behind division leading ... (click for more)

Covenant Women Announce 2016-17 Basketball Schedule

The Covenant women's basketball team, under fourth-year head coach Sarah Harris, has announced its schedule for the 2016-17 season. The Scots will play 24 regular season games, including 14 USA South games and 10 non-league contests. Covenant, which went 10-15 in 2015-16, opens the year at home on Nov. 15 against regional foe Sewanee at 5:30 p.m., inside Barnes Physical Education ... (click for more)

Jury Awards 25 City Police Personnel Total Of $562,000 On Claims That Pay Plan Was Not Followed

A Chancery Court jury on Wednesday gave a verdict totaling $562,000 for 25 city police personnel who filed suit almost five years ago alleging that the city never lived up to terms of a 2010 pay plan. Attorney Stevie Phillips, who tried the case along with Janie Parks Varnell, said, "The jury awarded each officer what we had asked for to the penny." She stated, "These 25 members ... (click for more)

TDEC Defends Its Operation Of Septic Permit Office In Bradley County; Backs Hank Thompson

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) defended the operation of its septic permit office in Bradley County, including the work of manager Hank Thompson. The Bradley County Commission is studying whether to take over the operation of the office, saying there have been a number of complaints against Mr. Thompson and that he recently kicked Commissioner ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)