M-W wrestling coach ready to pin cancer

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:53

    CENTRAL VALLEY-Monroe-Woodbury wrestling coach Steve Fischbein has always been a fighter. He battled to a sectional wrestling championship when he was a Crusader in the early 1980's, and he beat out coaches from all over the area to earn a New York State Coach of the Year in 2000. But Fischbein, 38, is in for the match of his life. The coach has cancer. "When I get diagnosed my world turned upside down," he said. "I was leading a normal life. When you get news like this it changes the way you think about everything." During a routine checkup in September, Fischbein was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a disease affects the blood's plasma cells. Immediately, he left for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock to begin treatment. But this deadly disease didn't know what it was up against. Fischbein didn't miss a beat. He was in his usual position Tuesday night to see the Crusaders open their season in season. "I was scared he wasn't going to be here," said senior Andy Franco. "He's been in my corner since eighth grade and it feels great to see him back." "In September this was the last thing on my mind," said Fischbein. "But I feel great for the most part, besides dropping some weight. I handled the chemotherapy well; being in good shape helped me out." "We were all worried about him at first," said junior Jeremy Wernikoff. "But I knew he is a very strong person and knew he would pull through. "He's gonna overcome all of his obstacles and we are going to do our best to overcome ours." Fischbein isn't going to to let the cancer beat him. He is a fighter and won't give up that easy. He has two young daughters at home that he plans on watching grow up. "My oldest daughter knows that I'm going to get medicine," said Fischbein. "She doesn't know the reason but she knows that I feel good." Danielle is five-years old and in Kindergarten. Julia will celebrate her second birthday in January. He looks good, too, sitting next to the mat watching his powerhouse program that he helped create dismantle Middletown in the opening round of the Section 9 duals at Wallkill High School. Fischbein plans to go back to Little Rock next month for the first of two stem-cell transplants. Three-year assistant Scott Johannemann will serve as head coach in Fischbein's absence. "Things happen to great people," said Franco. "I just feel terrible. He has an awesome wife and two young kids at home." Franco says that he will talk to his coach everyday while he is in Little Rock getting treatment. If the phone rings on Feb. 26, Franco should be telling his coach that he won his second section 9 championship.