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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

When the news came about Glenn’s iris melanoma, it shook the family. But they quickly responded.

“That’s devastating,” Tom Glenn said of his reaction when he found out his son was diagnosed with the eye cancer. “He’s my son and I thought this could affect what he loved most. It was scary. We had well wishes and fingers crossed. It was just family support, that’s how we attack things. It gets us through all kinds of ups and downs.”

Around the community, the news saddened many families who have been touched by Dan Glenn. The boys’ team found out the news and it spread in the spring. Many worried, but Glenn continued to flash his smile to calm them.

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He kept with his infectious groove, being ultra optimistic, not wanting to change anything in his life, yet realizing the inevitability of transforming. Last spring, he didn’t want to miss a practice for an eye exam, which he receives every three months, but he knew he had to, said Anne Yardley Caldwell.

She has known Glenn since they were in high school, she at Newport Harbor and he at Huntington Beach. They were in the same groups that would go out together.

When she found out her friend was diagnosed with cancer, she too was wrapped in fear.

“I immediately thought of his kids,” she said, nearly starting to cry. “I still get real emotional about it. That was real intense. It was bad. Mary couldn’t even talk. But I never saw him waver. He’s as strong as a rock. He couldn’t let the kids ever see him break down about it.”

Caldwell also knows Glenn well through her children. Kyle, her eldest son, played for Glenn and was on that team that came up shy in 2008. He’s now at UCLA.

“He has such high expectations for all his players,” she said of Glenn, who has won six CIF section titles and four CIF state championships with the girls, as well as two CIF section titles with the boys. “I’m quite sure he’s up at 5 a.m. I don’t know when he eats. He just puts everything of himself into Newport Harbor. That’s passion. He has such a passion for the school, the kids and the program. He does this for the love and the passion not for the [low pay] that he’s getting.”

Caldwell’s youngest son, Cody, is a junior at Newport Harbor and has the potential to be a star.

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