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



Mocs Advance Three Singles, Two Doubles To USC Upstate Tennis Finals

The Chattanooga Mocs continued its strong play at the USC Upstate Fall Classic in Spartanburg, S.C., today.  Three advanced to Sunday’s main draw finals in singles action, while two UTC tandems are in main draw championships in doubles. It will be an all-Chattanooga final in the Green singles draw tomorrow.  Junior Kayla Jones, the top seed in the bracket, cruised ... (click for more)

Covenant Volleyball Splits At Oglethorpe

After a tough loss to Maryville on Friday night, the Covenant volleyball team was back in action on Saturday afternoon at Oglethorpe University for a tri-match. The Lady Scots fell in five sets to unbeaten Millsaps in the day's first match before sweeping host Oglethorpe in the second match. With the split, Covenant goes to 10-6 overall on the season. In the first match, ... (click for more)

Man Charged With Killing 3-Year-Old Takes Own Life In County Jail

Justin Dale Bradley died in the Hamilton County jail Saturday morning. Notification was received from the Hamilton County 911 Center at   12:50 a.m. ,   regarding an inmate found unresponsive.   Jail personnel found the male inmate unresponsive in his cell and initiated CPR while notifying Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. ... (click for more)

Democratic Chairman Roy Herron Announces He Will Not Run For 2nd Term

Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron announced Saturday at a meeting of the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee that he would not be seeking a second term as party chairman. “I have been blessed to serve as chairman these past two years, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all of the executive committee members, party officials, staff members, and friends ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Late Garden Walk

Due to a series of pressing events I didn’t get a chance to make my September walk through the garden until yesterday. It is normally my custom to take a stroll on the first day of each new month, looking for the orchids and onions that might appear, so I can award them to those among us who deserve one or the other. So before the temperatures drop, allow me to catch up: AN ORCHID ... (click for more)