Chip High, a long-time area girls basketball coach and South Walton assistant from 2004 to 2014, received a “clean bill of health.” With that, he plans to return this winter to his coaching spot alongside South Walton head coach Kevin Craig.
Chip High already experienced one uplifting moment this summer.
He walked through the South Walton High School gymnasium doors and received a group hug from the players he loves.
One comeback story isn’t enough, though.
High, a long-time area girls basketball coach and South Walton assistant from 2004 to 2014, received a “clean bill of health.” With that, he plans to return this winter to his coaching spot alongside South Walton head coach Kevin Craig. All that stands before him is follow-up meetings with doctors starting Aug. 19 to receive clearance.
So, quite the good summer then?
“That’s quite the understatement,” he said.
High returned to the South Walton gym in June for the Has-Been versus Will-Be scrimmage event, his first appearance at the school since the end of the 2013-2014 basketball season. Like he did for 19 years at Choctaw High School and 10 at South Walton, he coached a Has-Been team consisting of some of his former players, including some from the 2013 Class 1A state championship team.
“It raised my morale by 1,000 percent,” High said. “I can’t tell you how much it meant to see the kids and the people. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.”
Another return, though, means more than just one game.
“It’d be great for me, but also for him,” Craig said. “The best medicine he could have would be to get back into this. He has a real passion for it.”
His outlook wasn’t always so cheerful. He had Stage 4 lymphoma, cancerous blood cell tumors that “tore up” his stomach, and explained he had three operations and endured chemotherapy and radiation.
“(Doctors) felt I was 50-50,” High said. “It has been a tough year.”
At one point, he believed his coaching career was in the past. The only thing in the past now is the life-threatening illness.
His coaching career is for the future.