Triad football coach taking on cancer again

Payton Printz had surgery last week, but expects to coach track this spring.

“I’m not obviously happy about it by any means, but like I’ve explained to a lot of people, it’s just another bump in the road,” said Printz, 48. “I’m going to keep fighting. That’s not how my family and my parents raised up. If there’s a fight, we’re going to hit it head on. That’s the approach that I’m taking.”

Printz, who coached the team cancer-free last season after receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010, is recovering at home after undergoing surgery at the Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center last Tuesday to remove cancerous tissue from his spleen.

“I feel all right,” Printz said. “I expected to be in a lot of pain, and I am, but I’m able to get through the day.”

In December, Printz said he’d had some pain in his lower back.

“I’d been developing some pain in my flank again,” Printz said. “A lot of that is contributed to scar tissue from the radiation, but this just felt different.”

He received several CT scans and doctors found cancerous lesions on the spleen, meaning he’d need surgery to remove the cancer. He said he’ll likely begin undergoing chemotherapy and radiation sometime in the next few weeks.

Printz expects to be out of school for the next four to six weeks, but hopes to return as track coach for the spring season. He also expects to be ready for football season next fall.

“I’m definitely going to coach,” Printz said. “It’s what I do. I’m not going to let this little cancer thing get me down. It’s just another thing to overcome.”

Printz and his football coaching staff have already begun preparing for next season.

“We’ve met three times a week before surgery, knowing it was going to put us back,” Printz said.

Printz said his wife Joni and his children, son John, 15, and daughter Bailey, 13, have been great sources of support the last week.

“I’m not going to let them down,” Printz said. “I’m going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting until there’s no fight left. That’s just how it’s going to be done.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0365 or

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