Plainview coach Dean Boyer rewrites definition of dedication after cancer diagnosis | NE staging area

The last time Dean Boyer was at the state wrestling tournament, he was clutching a state championship trophy in medical gloves.

The longtime Plainview head coach, who at the time was battling leukemia, returned to solitary confinement at his treatment center that night and continued the fight.

This week, much to the delight of many around the sport, he’s back in a corner.

“We certainly missed him,” said senior hacker Scout Ashburn. “No offense to the other coaches, but you have Coach Boyer in the chair and it’s almost like starting a point ahead.”

Second-ranked Ashburn – a two-time defending champion and ranked second in Class D at 132lbs – beat No. 3 Matt Bruns of Sutherland 7-3 on Friday night to advance to his third consecutive final, where he will meet the best – ranked Kenesaw’s Nick Kuehn.

He gives a lot of credit to what he calls “a mentor since kindergarten.”

“I was raised on the Plainview wrestling program,” Ashburn said. “He’s basically like another father to me.”

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Boyer, in his 28th season with the Pirate program, rewrote the definition of dedication this year.

Shortly before the season, he was diagnosed with skin cancer on the side of his nose.

“It got crazy from there,” he said.

Reconstructive surgery followed.

As he recounts – “They ended up cutting off half of my nose, then they did surgery to reattach it. They removed a 1 ½ inch strip from my head (front), turned it halfway , pulled her down, sewed me on my nose, cut me here (pointing between her eyes), cut me here (pointing at jaw line), cut me behind my ear and m removed some cartilage.

One hundred stitches in all. And if his blood pressure got too high, he would “just start bleeding.”

Thirty days of radiation came next. Aside from a ten-day period to recover from surgery, Boyer didn’t miss a single day of school or practice.

He leaves home at 5:30 a.m. each day for the 35-mile drive to Norfolk for radiation, returns in time to teach math all day, then back to the wrestling room after school.

“I was supposed to wait until after the Thanksgiving break (to come back),” Boyer said. “I said ‘No, I’m ready to go.'”

“If you’re tired, you go to the wrestling room and wake up,” Boyer said. “I feel good to be in there, to be with these young guys, everyone is just trying to work hard and try to be better. I really missed it.

And the Pirates missed the spark he provides, Ashburn said.

“The energy he brings to the room,” he said. “If Coach Boyer is in the room, it’s ‘Oh shit, we better work hard.'”

Boyer may not be able to give up like he used to, but he hasn’t lost a step. While at the treatment center, he covered 130 miles in two months. He ran up the stairs and also did push-ups.

“Doctors would come by and tell me ‘you can’t be on the floor,'” he said.

Otherwise, how are you supposed to do push-ups?

Boyer called the activity his “mental outlet.”

“It’s a tough place,” Boyer said.

But he is also the Pirate leader.

“He’s the toughest guy I know,” Ashburn said.

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