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Discussion in 'Fighting Gamecocks Forum' started by PerchedOnRings, Mar 20, 2017 at 8:47 PM.
Announced on Twitter that he has ALS. Sad.
I hate to hear that..
Isn't he the WR from clemmons that made "The Catch" for the niners?? Or is my memory all confused?
My uncle passed away with that at a young age of 45....
I remember hearing a bunch of old time 49er players passing away from ALS.... Teammates from the coach of Western Carolina back in the 80's... I think there 4 -6 players over time...
Nope. He made "the Catch".
Bob Waters, football coach at Western Carolina University for more than 20 years, died Monday after a long battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, becoming the third San Francisco 49ers player from the early 1960s to succumb to the rare ailment.
Waters died at his home in Cullowhee, N.C. He was 50.
The first sign that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- better known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS -- came in 1982 when Waters developed a twitch.
A year later, the disease was diagnosed. Waters was told he had, maybe, five years to live.
By 1986, he was unable to lift his arms to show a quarterback how to throw the football. By the 1988 season he coached from the sidelines in a wheelchair, unable to even nod his head without assistance bringing it back up. He breathed with the help of a respirator.
Running back Gary Lewis and linebacker Matt Hazeltine, also members of the 49ers in the early '60s, also died from ALS. The coincidence of three teammates contracting the rare disease has been the study of several studies into ALS, with speculation on possible causes ranging from a commonly used painkiller, steroids or a type of fertilizer used on the 49ers practice field.
For more than two years, Waters and his wife, Sheri, had tried to question every member of the 1964 49ers team to find a common link and help with research into the mysterious malady.
Researchers have stressed that ALS remains a disease with no known cause or cure.
'Coach Waters not only has given us a legacy of integrity and sportsmanship in athletics, but in contending with the illness from which he suffered, he also has given us a shining example of the inner strength and courage people need in times of adversity,' said WCU Chancellor Myron L. Coulter.
'Despite the illness, he never lost the qualities that made him such a great coach and person,' said Don Dalton, an assistant for Waters for 18 years. 'He still had a genuine concern for the people around him even on his worst days. He was a true gentleman and tried to do everything with class.'
Lou Gehrig's disease, named for the baseball great who died from it, kills 30,000 Americans a year by destroying their neuro-muscular systems.
It renders its victims incapable of self care, eventually robbing them of their ability to breathe. But it leaves their minds intact.
'No one wants to be told they have a disease like this,' he said in a 1986 interview. 'It's a bad one. But you can't step back from it. Instead, you have to step up and fight it, face-to-face.'
After the first twitch developed, Waters lost the use of his right arm. Then his left arm. Then his legs. Then his lungs.
Waters was a native of Sylvania, Ga., where he earned 11 athletic letters at Screven County High School before playing football at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.
He was selected in the 1960 draft by the 49ers, frequently starting as quarterback during his first four seasons. Injuries forced him to the 49ers secondary in 1964 and he ended his playing career the next season.
His coaching career began in 1966 at Presbyterian, where he was named an assistant coach.
Two years later he became receiver coach at Stanford University and in January 1969 became coach at Western Carolina. During his 20 years as coach of the Catamounts he amassed a 112-87-6 record.
At the end of the '86 season, it appeared that Waters would have no choice but to retire. But he hung on to the job, appearing on the sidelines for every practice scrimmage and every game.
Waters returned for the 1987 season, then the 1988 season. He intended to continue as coach in 1989, but Coulter removed Waters from the job, ordering him to either quit or take the title of assistant coach.
Waters at first he said he would leave. Then he changed his mind.
But Waters insisted that although the Catamounts ended the 1987 season 4-7 and the 1988 season 2-9, their worst record ever, his abilities as coach were intact.
The treatment of Waters stirred controversy in the mountain community where Western Carolina is located. To local residents and to his players, Waters was seen as a folk hero, a man who defied the odds.
Waters is survived by his wife Sherine and three children: Jeff; Kim; and Mica.
Funeral service are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday on Bob Waters Field at E.J. Whitmire Stadium on the campus. The field was named for the coach during halftime ceremonies of the last home game of the 1985 season.
Keith LeClair-head baseball coach East Carolina...died of ALS at age 40 in 2006. Tragic.