Demarco Moore, Sports Writer
It’s Monday, Jan. 23. Terry Floyd sits inside his Hillsboro home, decked out in a navy blue sweat suit and slippers. He eases back into his recliner, watching NFL analysts break down Super Bowl 51.
For years, Floyd worked full-time as a manager at Volunteer Paint and Decorating in Manchester. Most probably know him best as one of the most prolific softball coaches the area has known.
But life has changed dramatically for the winningest coach in the history of Coffee County Central High School’s softball program.
Floyd, 55, used to fighting for wins, district championships and a coveted spot in the state tournament, is now fighting for his life. Floyd has cirrhosis of the liver, which forced him to vacate his position in 2015 after a 12-year stint at the helm of the softball program that included 351 wins.
The“fatty liver” started in 2009, but up until 2013, Floyd was almost certain it would never affect his tenure at CHS, let alone hit the stop button on such a fascinating coaching career.
“The doctor said ‘hey don’t worry about it, this will probably never ever affect you,’” Floyd explained. “I laughed and told him ‘doctor why me,’ and he said ‘some people have Cadillac bodies and some have Volkswagens. You’ve got a Volkswagen.’”
Coffee County softball coach Terry Floyd addresses the Lady Raiders during a past practice session in the Crethan Hansert Memorial Hitting Facility. (Manchester Times file photo by Jake Kreulen)
End of an era
The journey began in 1996 when former CHS coach Jeff Breeden, who currently serves as head softball coach at Middle Tennessee State University, approached Floyd about joining the staff as an assistant. Prior to that, the only coaching experience he had was with his daughter, Nicole. But the way Floyd coached Nicole caught Breeden’s eye, leading to a hiring that changed the landscape of softball at Coffee County Central.
When Breeden left CHS to become the head coach at Riverdale prior to the 2004 season, Floyd was tabbed as the next head coach. But not without a little push from the community’s parents, who Floyd said influenced him to apply for the position.
“I thought Jeff would be there forever,” Floyd said. “I owe a lot to him as far getting me involved in the high school situation.”
The rest is history, as Floyd led the Lady Raiders to 351 wins, eight district championships and two state tournament appearances (2012, 2014) with third and fourth-place finishes, respectively.
The waiting game
One side effect of Floyd’s liver condition is a weakened immune system, which limits him to his home. When he does travels, it’s mainly to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital, where Terry and his wife, Teresa Floyd, visit to get treatment and await the news about a needed liver transplant.
“They’re great down there [at UAB], but the drive is terrible,” said Floyd.
“When we go down there we have to leave out a day ahead, and it takes about three hours to get there most times. We have to stay overnight.”
“It’s just overwhelming,” said Teresa, who drives whenever she and her husband have to make the trip to the hospital.
“But I believe in God and trust in God, and I know he’s going to get us through it and it’s gonna’ be OK.”
Now it’s a waiting game for the Floyds, as they wait for a liver transplant.
Terry’s imminent liver transplant is expected to cost upward of $500,000, including anti-rejection medicine and recover time of roughly one year. According to Terry, it will be a four-day procedure.
When Terry stepped down as head coach at CHS, a bank account was set up in his name at the Coffee County Bank to help with medical costs. There is also a slow-pitch co-ed softball tournament scheduled for Apr. 22 withthe same purpose.
The Manchester community is giving back to Floyd, who has already given so much in his time at the helm.
What also stands out is his attitude, which is tough, easy-going, still smiling and enjoying life. It’s reminiscent of the way he says he taught his team to be every year on the diamond. Those are lessons still remembered by his former players.
“[Coach Floyd] gave me opportunities as a freshman and I’m very thankful for that,” said Haley Hinshaw, a senior at CHS who played shortstop for Floyd during her freshman season.
“He represents all of Coffee County softball and all that it’s going to be still. I love him a lot.”
For Haley, Floyd is a legend whose support made her the type of player she and others are today.
“He gave our community opportunities and other softball players [opportunities]. He kind of opened doors for things.”
And now Terry Floyd is waiting for a door of his own to open – a door to a liver transplant and renewed health. The community is certainly pulling for him.
How you can help
Bank Donation: To make a donation at the Coffee County Bank (2070 Hillsboro Blvd, Manchester, TN. 37355), simply go in and to donate to the “Terry Floyd Benefit Fund.”
Playday: CHS softball softball will host a benefit play day at 6 p.m. March 7 at CHS and Tullahoma. T-shirts will be for sale.
Coed Softball / Cornhole Tournament: Terry Floyd benefit coed softball/cornhole tournament will be held
April 22 at Dave King Park. Cost is $150 per team. To register, call Annette Painter 931-212-6325.
Reach Demarco Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @iam__demo