Edgewood swim coach returns after major surgery

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Marcus Pierce came back to coach his swim team's meet on Saturday, less than two weeks after getting out of the hospital.

It is Marcus Pierce's fourth season as the assistant coach for Edgewood High School's swim team – and he loves his job.

"This is the most fun thing to do in my life, so I enjoy being here," he said.

Pierce has a motto for his swimmers – all gas, no brakes – and it is a phrase he has built his life around. He has never missed a meet, and despite a major surgery this month, he was not planning on missing Saturday's meet either.

"I couldn't sit on the couch anymore, I needed to get up, I was getting antsy," Pierce said.

Less than two weeks ago, Pierce had surgery to amputate his leg to remove synovial cell sarcoma, a cancer he has battled since he was 11 years old.

"I can't sit around and wait for a miracle to happen, you just have to make it happen yourself, so I had to get back," Pierce said of his recovery.

Swimmers on Edgewood's swim team said that having Pierce back to cheer them on meant a lot.

"He's a coach, but he's really family. Our team's so small that everyone's family," said Truman Teduits, a junior who joined the swim team his freshman year.

Pierce's story is also an inspiration to the swimmers he coaches.

"Never give up, just keep pushing. Things get hard sometimes, but just keep pushing and things will go your way," Teduits said. That is what he has learned from Pierce.

This was the third time Pierce's cancer had returned. He said on Saturday that he felt good after his surgery, and he is thankful for his team's support.

"Some of them came up and visited me in the hospital, which was amazing, they didn't have to do that, that's time out of their day, so I appreciate that a lot," he said. "These group of kids and their families are some of the best people I've ever met and that's why I keep coming back to coach every year."

Pierce wants to keep coaching as long as he can, and he is making plans to get back in the pool as well. In a few years, he wants to compete as a Paralympic swimmer.