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Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Tarpon Springs’ George Kotis figures out long-distance coaching while wife undergoes cancer treatment

For nearly a month, Tarpon Springs football coach George Kotis has not been patrolling the sidelines.

He has been in Boca Raton with wife Artemis, who is battling Stage IV ovarian cancer. They are there so Artemis can have chemotherapy treatments with an alternative oncologist.

During the week, Kotis reviews film of the upcoming opponent on Hudl and helps devise a game plan with the rest of the staff via phone. Jason Ranze, the school's athletic director, is serving as the defacto head coach in Kotis' absence.

"It's not the most ideal situation, but it is the best one we come up with for the program," Kotis said.

RELATED: Vital part of Tarpon Springs' football program missing this fall

The Spongers are working with a thin staff. Three assistants left the program.

"They showed their character by leaving the players," Kotis said.

Artemis was initially diagnosed in 2016 with colon cancer. Months later, the blood work was clean and the cancer appeared to be in remission. But last October, the pain came back.

Kotis said the cancer was misdiagnosed. His wife had ovarian cancer and it was spreading — fast.

The family went to Boca Raton in May to see the same oncologist. The treatment is slow, with small doses of chemotherapy but it is now increasing.

"She is gradually making progress," Kotis said.

Tarpon Springs is 3-4 and can get to .500 with a win against winless Dunedin tonight. Kotis said he hopes to return for the next game against Lakewood on Oct. 26.

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