USC Aiken Golf Coach Rebounds From Life Threatening Illness

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Monday May 12, 2008

Aiken, SC--Michael Carlisle has been coaching golf at USC Aiken for 17 years. During his tenure, Carlisle and his charges have won three national titles. But it's this year he'll never forget.

"It was back in the end of February when I went to the emergency room, I was having a lot of difficulty breathing" said Michael Carlisle "I don't remember any of this, this is what I was told and from there it was kind of a rough situation for a while."

Rough situation may be an understatement. Michael Carlisle had pneumonia that nearly took his life. Ask his doctors, they'll be the first to say he's lucky to be alive. His players were in shock when they first visited him in the hospital.

"I think the first time they saw me I scared the hell out of them because I wasn't a real pretty picture. When they saw me I had lost about 50 pounds and I didn't look very good. So I think they were a little scared at first, but after that we were able to joke around about how I looked and they made jokes about how my arms and legs look small but my head is still big." said Carlisle.

After 62 days in a hospital setting, he's on the road to a full recovery. Coming back from pneumonia like he's had takes time, especially for someone who's as active as he is.

"It's going to take a long time. It's going to take a good six to nine months to be where I was before, or even a year. But it's something I'm working really hard at."

Carlisle has missed the entire spring golf season with the Pacers. His cell phone, the computer, and visits have kept him up to date with everything happening. He knows his golf team is in good hands.

"What I'm really happy about is that we have a really good person who's taken over in Scott Brown" said Carlisle "Also he's gotten a lot of help from Brooks Blackburn at Midland Valley and our athletic director here, Randy Warrick has done a good job taking care of everything obviously with the success they've had. So I'm real happy we have people like that to keep the program going that are very interested and very supportive to work hard for them to be successfull."

At age 50 Carlisle is expecting to be back at the helm in the fall. Giving up the program never entered his mind, even during his hospital stay.