By Paige Nash
A lot of terms can be used to describe Minden native, Ronnie Coker – husband, father, championship winning coach, motivational speaker, stage IV colon cancer survivor and executive director of his new WinTheDay Foundation, to name a few.
“WinTheDay came from what we should do every day,” said Coker. “I used to welcome the Airline High School students to school, and I would always say something like ‘win the day,’ ‘be great,’ and ‘make a difference.’ Win the day stuck.”
It became Ronnie’s mantra to his students for many years and eventually for himself.
In April of last year, with only a week left before he was set to retire, he received the news that he was battling stage IV colon cancer. By the time he learned of his diagnosis, the cancer had already spread to his colon, liver and lungs. Being a coach of more than 30 years, he knew this was going to be the battle of his life – the battle for his life.
In November, after his latest visit to MD Anderson Cancer Center, his doctors gave him the devastating news that he only had two years left to live. He continued with his chemotherapy treatments and just took it day by day, making it his goal to win the day.
Two months later after hearing the news that he only had a short time left on this Earth, his doctors were stunned, amazed and absolutely delighted to deliver the news that Ronnie was in full remission. He was completely cancer-free. Talk about a whirlwind! In two months, he went from thinking he only had two short years to live and now his cancer is completely gone from every part of his body.
With decades of background in coaching he has inspired hundreds of his players throughout the years. Now, after overcoming his battle with colon cancer, he felt led to create the WinTheDay Foundation to expand his outreach.
The foundation is a Christian based non-profit organization that focuses on inspiring, creating and providing educational opportunities for the local youth. It creates opportunities for young people in our area to have access to free sport camps and after school programs.
“We would like to eventually have a sports facility,” said Coker. ”Until then, we will host camps and leagues in facilities that we will rent.”
They currently host free camps in Bossier, Haughton, Shreveport, Benton and Minden, with plans to expand to more local communities. The types of camps offered include football, volleyball, speed and basketball.
You can also book Ronnie as a motivational speaker to come and talk at events, schools or businesses. You can bet that you will leave feeling ready to “win the day.”
Ronnie is returning to his hometown to host an event for his foundation. The event is coming up on April 29 at Pine Hills Country Club in Minden.
It is a two-man scramble with tee times at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Food will be provided along with great fun and for an even greater cause. You can still sign up by contacting Ronnie at email@example.com or on the foundation’s website, WinTheDay.org.