Hoop dreams still alive for Waggoner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

In 1999, Nathan Waggoner graduated from the Lawrence County Open Door School.

He said "goodbye" to his old academic haunt, proud of the 1996 basketball championship he helped win.

Waggoner is back as an honorary coach of this year's March Madness Alumni/Tri-State basketball games, but his return his bittersweet: Nathan Waggoner was diagnosed late last year with bone cancer and is now confined to a wheelchair. He will watch the game he loves so much from the sidelines this time.

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"He said 'Mom, if I can't play, this is the very best that I can do,'" his mother, Carolyn Waggoner said.

Nathan Waggoner pronounced himself pleased with the honorary coach's title, but it is clear he misses the action on the court.

"It's hard not being there with them," Waggoner said. "I wish I were out there playing."

At home, the Proctorville resident cheers for the University of Kentucky and Duke basketball

teams. His mother said he also likes the New York Jets, and recently got a phone call from Jets quarterback and former Marshall University football standout Chad Pennington. He also counts Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich among his friends. Sports is more than a past time. It's a passion.

The Third annual March Madness is a two-game evening of basketball that is part of the annual MRDD awareness activities. The first game will pit The Open Door School basketball team against the school's alumni. The second game will pit media representatives against a team from Tri-State Industries. March Madness will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday at Dawson-Bryant High School.