His neck is a little sore, and coping with the heat has taken a little getting used to.
But apart from that, Bill Unsworth hasn’t felt better in months.
As a result, he’s returned as head coach of the Edinburgh Community High School football team, less than a month after major surgery to remove a benign spinal tumor near his neck.
Unsworth, 64, resumed his responsibilities Sept. 7, one day after the Lancers defeated Trinity Lutheran 53-38 to improve to 2-1.
He’s been running the show since.
“My neck’s a little stiff, but every day it’s a little bit better,” said Unsworth, who’s in his fourth season with the Lancers. “Obviously, it feels good to be back. This is what I do, it’s who I am. It’s great to be around the kids again.
“Now, I’m not sure all the kids will say it’s great to be around me all the time, but it’s good to be around the kids.”
Unsworth had not made an appearance at a game or practice since his surgery, which was performed a few days before the Aug. 16 season-opener. He wanted to focus on his recovery and not be a distraction to the team while Tim Leonard, the Lancers’ defensive coordinator, served as interim coach.
Unsworth did not want to return until he could perform all of his coaching duties, which he was having trouble doing because of the tumor. The tumor caused chronic pain and fatigue.
Diagnosed shortly before the Lancers began practice Aug. 5, Unsworth expected to miss half, or possibly most, of the season after the surgery. But his return has been on the quick end of expectations.
“I feel good,” Unsworth said. “During our team camp, and then during our first two weeks of practice, I’d come home from practice and I would eat dinner and sit in my recliner and fall asleep. I was wiped out.
“I come home now, I’m a little tired, but I don’t sit down and fall asleep.”
Unsworth returns in time for the Lancers’ game tonight at South Decatur. He applauds the job his staff and players have done, as Edinburgh continues its bid for its first winning season in 20 years.
“Unfortunately, we’re going against South Decatur, which is probably one of the toughest teams we’ll play, so I picked a good time to come back,” Unsworth said, laughing. “Hopefully, (the Edinburgh players) won’t rally around me. They’ll rally around themselves and their teammates.
“If I can be a little bit of motivation, fine, but that’s why they play the game; they play the games for themselves and their teammates.”