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Glenn thrives amid adversity

Longtime Newport Harbor coach diagnosed with iris melanoma earlier this year, but has remained positive.

November 04, 2009|By Steve Virgen

He knew he had to tell the truth this time, especially with something so serious. No smiling now. Yet in all the moments of his life, this was the one yearning for his everyday optimism.

It was as if he was made for this news. He’s always taught his players to live in the moment, forget the past.

Why play for a championship ring? That’s what he would always say, thinking it was just a prize to show off and a reminder of what’s left behind. No, live for now and build for the future. Control what you can.


This is what was needed and this is what Mary longed for, as the tears flowed and depression crept in.

As days went by and the realization set in, Mary worried more. The stress came in a wave as she researched the disease, learning of the possibility that Glenn could lose his eye, or worse yet, the cancer could spread all over his body.

How could this happen to Danny? How could this happen to us?

Only one in one million people are diagnosed with iris melanoma.

But Glenn said something to calm his wife’s seemingly endless fears.

To paraphrase, I never coached a volleyball match where I went in thinking that I was going to lose. That’s like how this is. We’re not going to lose, we’re going to beat this.

“I kept replaying that over and over,” Mary said. “I started thinking, ‘we’re going to beat this and we’re going to do whatever we can.’ ”

Glenn is doing whatever he can, and to help others too. He’d probably prefer that this story not be told, but if it can help Friday’s cause, he’s fine with it. Corona del Mar will play at Newport Harbor in the annual Battle of the Bay. The players will be wearing pink to support cancer research and all the money raised will be going to the Hoag Hospital Cancer Center.

The match is also exciting for Glenn because he knows it will be the best preparation for his team as the Sailors head into the playoffs. Newport Harbor, ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division I-AA, will try to clinch a share of the Sunset League title today at Edison. Then come the Sea Kings, then the playoffs. Last week, the Sailors (23-6, 8-1 in league) suffered their first loss in league play. But Glenn made sure he had his players move on. Forget it.

He tell’s them, “What you’re about to do is more important than what you’ve already done.”

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