SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Moeller High School assistant head football coach Darryn Chenault needs a kidney transplant.
But, don't think that will alter his plan to help high school student-athletes anytime soon.
"Perfect world — win state, go to surgery the next day and then start part two of my life," Chenault said.
Chenault, 50, learned in August about his need for a kidney transplant due to chronic kidney disease. A living donor transplant would provide a longer life expectancy than a deceased donor's kidney or dialysis.
Chenault has often felt fatigued during Moeller's practice. His stamina — whether his coaching voice or running on the field — wasn't the same. He felt 30 years older.
"(Moeller head coach) Mark Elder is probably the most high energy guy in the world," Chenault said. "I couldn't keep up with him and it was making me go crazy."
Chenault, a Finneytown High School graduate, has coached Greater Cincinnati high school football for 32 years. Football isn't just a game for Chenault.
"You are teaching these kids how to live life," he said. "You are teaching them how to be men. You are teaching them to get that education once they get to college and how focused they need to be."
Those life lessons are why Chenault won't stop coaching. He feels blessed even after learning about the need for a kidney transplant.
Even though he is asking for a gift, he won't stop giving back his time, knowledge and enthusiasm.
"He is truly dedicated to all his players," said Kennedy Chenault, eldest daughter of Darryn and Sherrie Chenault.
"And he truly loves all them like their his own sons, so I know that football means a lot to him not just because of the sport itself but just the connections that he makes with them," Kennedy said. "It's pretty special to him."
Darryn proudly displays several helmets at his West Chester Township home from where he's coached including Roger Bacon, Princeton, Finneytown, Lakota East, Lakota West and Moeller.
"It's a part of me — 32 years that's who I am," Chenault said. "I love the challenges that come Sunday through Thursday at practice and game-planning and getting the kids ready."
So it was no surprise at 2:30 p.m., Thursday that Chenault saw his phone light up like Christmas when the word was sent on social media about his need for a kidney donor.
Chenault has 20-plus years of law enforcement experience and works at the University of Cincinnati in community engagement. His passion is helping young people succeed.
"He's got a real presence about himself in a positive way," Moeller head coach Mark Elder said. "He's an authority figure. He's been a head coach. He's been coaching for a long time. He's loved by the players. He's tough on them but very fair. He's an outstanding mentor to our young men."
As Moeller (4-0) prepares to play at St. Xavier (2-2) tonight, Chenault will be on the sideline helping the Crusaders' defense as they prepare for their first Greater Catholic League South division game this season.
"The Moeller family has just been truly supportive," Chenault said. "Some people are just now finding out because I kind of held it back because I didn't want that to interfere with what we were doing as far as coaching and doing the things that we're doing on the practice field."
Chenault has completed four of a dozen tests to prepare his body for the kidney transplant. He's hoping to have a donor match by the end of October.
"If I can be a role model to a kid or an adult going through this obviously that's what I want to do," Chenault said.
"I want to get that out there. I know the biggest thing people are asking me, 'Hey are you scared?' I kind of laugh. I am scared but it's like the feeling I get before a game. You kind of still get nervous because you want the kids to be prepped and ready to go. So I still get that feeling. And I think that's an awesome feeling because things are also — you're ready to go. You know you're ready to go in the back of your mind even though you are still a little bit nervous and scared upfront."
Elder said he is glad Chenault is starting the campaign early to find a donor match.
After all, Chenault isn't just an assistant head coach, but a true friend.
"I want to be around him because as they always say the people that you surround yourself with that leads you in the direction that you're going," Elder said. "He's the type of guy you want to be around because he's an outstanding person."
Visit www.facebook.com/s3cohioand share Chenault's story on your personal page. Living kidney donors do not need to be his relatives, so the more the message can be shared the better for a potential donor match.
If you have questions or want to learn more about Darryn’s story and/or his transplant needs, contact one of his Co-Donor Champions, Dana Parker at 513-295-2855 email@example.com or Kennedy Chenault at 513-823-1957 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To start the donor matching process, contact Darryn’s Kidney Donor Transplant Coordinator Bri Bronson at 513-585-1427.