He's one of high school lacrosse's iconic coaches. For more than two decades, Kirk Ventiquattro has built the Carthage Comets into a state powerhouse. But the control he has on the field was taken away off of it. At the age of 52, he was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. But as our Brian Dwyer reports in the first of a three part special, Coach V, as he's known, doesn't know the meaning of the word ‘quit.’
CARTHAGE, N.Y. -- The sign inside his office says it all. 45 minutes before face off, Kirk Ventiquattro and the Carthage Comets take every step.
"I come to work every day. I work hard and I coach with passion," said Kirk Ventiquattro, Carthage Lacrosse Head Coach.
And on this night, Parent Night, answering this question will be the biggest step.
Kirk Ventiquattro's legacy is like few others. 24 years, 380 plus wins, three state championship games, and numerous Frontier League titles. Coaching stars: Powells, Coffmans, Grimm...even his two sons.
"Coach V for most of us has been, you know, like our idol since we were five years old. Lacrosse is all we know up here," said Nicholas Ames, senior attackman.
They say preparation breeds success. But how does one prepare for something you can never see coming?
Last year at a camp across the country in Oregon, an out of the blue phone call from a doctor left Coach V blindsided. That pain he'd been feeling in his stomach for quite some time was prostate cancer, and it was stage four. He was facing a 30 percent survival rate, maybe never coaching again.
"When I found out, I took a little bit of time, maybe more than a little bit of time to shed a lot of tears and worry about the wrong things. Finally one day I walked into my office and I looked around and saw all the things on the wall of accomplishments that teams have done and my own personal accomplishments and I said to myself, 'you've been selfish. You really haven't done all of this for somebody else.' So I made a commitment right then and there to my family and to any kids that I'd coach from that point on, I'm coaching for them. I'm living for my family," said Coach Ventiquattro.