MINERAL, Va. (WWBT) - The 2019 high school football season will feature a new honor given to one of the area’s best. NBC12 will award the Mark L. Fischer Player of the Year Award to Central Virginia’s most valuable player.
Fischer passed away in February after a six and a half year battle with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer. He was the head coach at Louisa County High School from 2003-2010 and 2014-2017, leading the Lions to the state championship game in 2006 and 2017. Louisa was 95-41 during Fischer’s 12 seasons at the head of the sideline.
“He just loved making people laugh. He loved life,” remembered Fischer’s wife, Pamela.
“He wore his emotions on his sleeve,” added current Louisa head coach Will Patrick, who was a longtime assistant under Fischer. “He told you how he felt, and he tried to embody that in all of his players and all of his coaches that worked for him.”
Louisa Country changed forever on February 17, 2019, when Coach Fischer passed away, but the footprints and fingerprints he left on his community are still very much alive.
“Have half of my passion was one of his big sayings,” recalled Patrick.
“If you have an ounce of my passion, then we’re going to have a great season,” said Pam of her husband’s longtime message to his teams.
Fischer was declared cancer-free twice, but the disease’s final return forced him to step down from coaching following the 2017 season, when the Lions made an historic run to the state championship game. Through his entire battle, Fischer stuck to his mindset that he developed after his initial diagnosis in 2012.
“I could say ‘why me?' or I could say ‘why not me?’,” Fischer told NBC12 prior to the 2017 state semifinals. “I just decided to go ahead and say ‘why not me?’”
“That was his motto and it still is today,” said Pam. “I have to remind myself about it.”
Pam wears a bracelet on her wrist that has an inscription written on it in her late husband’s hand-writing. It reads “never say why me, rather why not me.”
Fischer applied the same passion he had for football and for being a husband and father to fighting cancer. But as he helped so many boys grow into men and fight for that extra yard, he found himself lending that same helping hand to others in his shoes, just fighting to survive.
“He told people in the community ‘if you know someone who’s diagnosed with cancer, multiple myeloma, blood cancer, what he had, give them my number,’” Pam remembered. “He felt like God gave him this disease, or he was diagnosed with cancer, to help others and for them to see no matter what, you can get through this.”
Through it all, the Fischers had the Louisa community, to which they returned in 2014. The head coach went back to his old head coaching job after a three year stint in South Carolina, knowing that if the worst happened, his family would be in the best hands. Pam said that people from Louisa sent care packages and made phone calls following Mark’s initial 2012 diagnosis and countless school and community members have been there for her and her family during this difficult time.
“He wanted us to be here because he know the community. We wouldn’t be alone afterwards.”
No matter where she is, Pam believes that she and their two children are never alone, always having Mark in their hearts and minds to help draw up one more game plan, regardless of the circumstance.
“You have to move forward, but you move forward with them, and Mark will always be a part of our family. He will always be a part of this community. We’ll never move on without him.”
The Fischer Award winner will be determined by area high school football coaches and select media members. It will be awarded in December.
The 2019 Louisa Lions kick off their season on August 30 at Courtland.
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