Larry Templeton

Former Mississippi State Athletic Director, Friend of Mike Slive

“You can’t do this stuff on your own. I was going through something big, and it was hugely important to have Mike by my side.”

Anyone who keeps up with college football might recognize Larry Templeton’s name. For twenty years he was Athletic Director at his alma mater, Mississippi State, before moving on to the SEC where he helped then-Commissioner Mike Slive with the mind-numbing task of scheduling the hundreds of games the SEC’s 14 teams played each season. For a man whose life work revolves around order and precision, a cancer diagnosis is a considerable wrench in the smoothly running machine.

Back in 1993, Larry was diagnosed with and successfully treated for testicular cancer. After that, he went back every year for a checkup with oncologist. For 20 years he was cancer-free. In the spring of 2013 his PSA number was elevated but still relatively low but high enough to concern his doctor. The biopsy was ordered in July.

“I had some real issues from the biopsy,” Larry recalls, referring to some of the complications from this method of detection. Although prostate cancer treatment has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, screening methods haven’t changed much at all. Researchers at UAB have developed MRI-assisted tests, but the majority of doctors rely on PSA levels and biopsies, which can damage the prostate and leave problematic scar tissue.

When the test came back positive, Larry started reviewing treatment options. “I didn’t understand anything. Not knowing your next step is just as intimidating as the cancer itself. You can’t do this stuff on your own, so I went back to Dr. Montgomery. He introduced me to his partner who had his prostate removed at UAB with Dr. Tully in February 2014. He said it was a great experience, so I said ‘Let’s go.’”

For a man whose career was focused on precision and timing, he couldn’t have dreamed of a better procedure than what he got. “It was a robotic surgery with a high-class machine. I had five incisions about the size of a pencil hole around my navel. I went in at 11 one day and got out at 11 the next. I would have gotten out earlier, too, if Mike Slive hadn’t come by with an extra large cup of coffee and talked my ear off,” he laughs. “You need relationships like that. I was going through something big, and it was hugely important to have Mike by my side.”

Recovery wasn’t so bad for Larry. He had to restrict lifting, and he had to use a catheter for about a week. He did so well, in fact, “Dr. Tully said I only needed to come back every year. But I like to make extra sure, so I schedule an appointment every six months.”

“This organization can do great things,” he said. “They can change the game for a lot of people.”