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The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Track Coach Battling Cancer Inspired By His Team


Mac McIntosh, known by his team as Coach Mac, has found a new reason to become passionate about coaching track and field.
“I put on my gear and immerse myself at the track,” McIntosh said. “Without the outlet of coaching I would be looking for something to fill the hours.”

McIntosh was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September of 2015 at 62 years old, and is currently undergoing treatment. When first told of his condition, Mcintosh said he came face to face with his own mortality.

“It is easy to intellectually know that you will die, but when a surgeon looks you in the face and tells you, you have 12-18 months, you know viscerally that things are out of your control,” McIntosh said.

However, McIntosh said acceptance has helped him maintain a positive attitude.

“My first question was, ‘Why me?’” McIntosh said. “In acceptance I asked the question, ‘Why not me?’ I’m otherwise healthy, have a supporting wife and I am financially independent.”

Steve Puckett, an assistant track coach and friend of McIntosh, said McIntosh’s outlook has helped him keep the same level of joy as before he was diagnosed.

“It’s amazing. You wouldn’t even know he’s sick,” Puckett said. “He has a lot of energy.”

According to McIntosh, staying positive is a choice that has reaped many rewards.

“I could be negative and make everyone around me miserable,” McIntosh said. “When I’m positive my friends really seek to help me and it brings me closer to them.”

Even immediately following the discovery of cancer, McIntosh said he never planned to give up coaching.

“I planned to be down at the track in a wheelchair and as long as my mind was lucid,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh said track is not just about athletic achievement. For McIntosh it is about spending his time helping others instead of thinking about himself.

“When someone else’s success is more important than your own, it is the most rewarding,” McIntosh said. “The comments I get from alumni are the most gratifying experiences.”

Mckenzie Allison, a senior captain of the track team, has seen McIntosh’s words in action.

“Helping us get better, helps him feel better,” Allison said. “He [McIntosh] rubs off our energy.”

In addition to helping athletes get better at their craft, McIntosh said the discipline of track and field could help athletes improve in other facets of life.

“I’m always thinking about how to help the kids on the team, not just with sport, but at being a better human being,” McIntosh said. “We try to tell our kids you can outwork anyone.”

According to McIntosh, hard work has been the motto of his life, whether he was setting records for track in high school and college or piloting for the Air Force.

“I’ve learned that hard work pays off,” McIntosh said. “Hard work in all areas of life is the key.”

McIntosh said he plans to keep fighting for the rest of his life.

“I want to keep doing this job as long as I can,” McIntosh said. “If I’m standing at the end, I’ve won.”


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Track Coach Battling Cancer Inspired By His Team