TEAGUE (May 14, 2013) -- Coaching can be a frustrating profession but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who loves his job more than Kyle Kilman.
Kilman has been coaching for 24 years; but it's the last four at Teague that have been truly rewarding.
The Lions have won two straight district titles and Kilman was named the district coach of the year last season.
"Coach Kilman is a very big part of that by giving us the mentality of never quitting and giving it our all every day," Teague third baseman Kelton Henderson said.
But, those awards don't even begin to explain how much Kilman means to his players.
"Growing up, I never really had a father. My father died when I was two and coach Kilman's kind of been that father figure to me," Henderson said.
"He's just a good influence in and outside of sports, he can be a friend too," Teague centerfielder Evan Goodwin said.
Most coaches need a lifetime to have an impact like that. But Kilman, didn't have a lifetime.
"I was diagnosed with a skin melanoma in October of 2011," Kilman said.
Kilman's outlook was so bleak, doctors told him to start writing his will.
"I was concerned I'd never get to coach again," he said.
"I was definitely worried, but I didn't really know how to handle it," Goodwin said.
"I felt, at first, devastated, but after thinking about it, coach Kilman's a very strong man" Henderson said.
So strong that he kept coaching while fighting cancer.
"You could see the swelling in his leg, it was about three times the size of the other leg," Henderson said.
"I wanted to be able to be a part of what we were doing here and I was going to be there until I couldn't anymore," coach said.
Kilman coached the entire season and led Teague to its first district title in 20 years. And he finally knew what it really meant to be a coach.
"You value every day. You value your time out here with the kids," Kilman said.
Just 17 months ago, death was just a matter of time. Today, he's cancer free and his team is on the doorstep of reaching state for the first time in school history.
"He made us who we are today," Henderson said. "He kept God number one, family two and baseball three," Henderson said.
"He always brings it back up, no matter what the situation is, you can always fight and end up on top of things," Goodwin said.
"Just to get to do it again. Just to be able to go out there and be effective…I can't even put it into words," Kilman said.
Because when you mean this much to your players, words will just never be enough.