WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) — Everyone knows a good coach can make a football team great. One of those coaches faces a great personal battle, as well.
Roger Lipelt and Brad Anderson met when Anderson played for Lipelt in 1981.
Lipelt built Wayata into a state power with attitude.
“He is an optimist and I’m reminded by that when I hear Roger talking about, ‘What was it like when he came here?’ and he talks about all the great people and how many people were part of really building this program,” said Anderson.
Anderson took over at Wayzata when Lipelt left.
Lipelt came out of retirement to start the now-unbeaten Providence Academy football program.
“Four of us old geezers from Wayzata went out and started it together and it’s the same kind of thing, kids are kids wherever they are,” said Lipelt.
Three weeks ago, he didn’t feel he had the energy for coaching. He went in for a checkup.
“I knew something was wrong and then they said, ‘Your colon cancer has returned and gone into your lungs and liver,'” said Lipelt.
And so his former player is part of the rally behind his coach.
“We talk about or program as a family and I know a lot of people see their programs as families and the only thing I could say is it really, truly is a family. When someone has something go tough for them everyone rallies around,” said Anderson.
The coach, strapped to a chemo bag, is still coaching and fighting the same way he coaches his players.
“OK, what do we have to do about it? That was kind of the attitude more than anything and still is,” said Lipelt.