When the booming voice of Larry Reece welcomed Cowboys fans to the OSU Caravan Thursday night, it was an announcement he wasn't sure he'd be able to make.
Reece, the longtime public address voice of Oklahoma State athletics, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in December. Just last week, he learned treatment was successful and he is cancer-free.
The cancer attacked his throat, but he only was silenced temporarily, thanks to his medical team and another team -- the extended OSU family.
"It's unbelievable, because back in December were the scariest days of my life," Reece said. "I knew I had cancer, but I didn't know where it originated, so I'm looking up pictures on the Internet and going, 'I hope I don't have that, I hope I don't have that," and just wondering 'am I going to be around to watch my daughter grow up, am I going to be around to call more games?' All those things go through your mind, so eight months later, with the help of everybody praying for me, my prayer posse, everybody riding with me -- I'm cancer free, so I'm truly blessed."
Reece served as master of ceremonies on Thursday night, interviewing football coach Mike Gundy and baseball coach Josh Holliday before a packed auditorium at OSU-Tulsa. He missed a portion of the OSU basketball schedule while getting treatments in Oklahoma City and in Houston, but support from friends and Cowboys fans kept his spirits high.
"It's been very humbling," he said. "I always knew the OSU family was special; I just didn't realize the magnitude of it. I had thousands of people reach out to me. It's been amazing, and not just OSU people, people from across the [Big 12] conference, or from my hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, I mean it's been absolutely tremendous. Every day I was getting something -- a note, or a text, or a picture of someone in a 'I ride with the voice' shirt, so it got me through the whole deal."
Reece says he's feeling better, but he isn't sure how his voice will hold up for an entire football game. However, those concerns haven't dampened his excitement for OSU's home opener against Central Arkansas.
"I think I'll be emotional that first game, because truthfully in December I thought, 'am I done with this?' 'How long am I going to be around here?' We just didn't know what was going on here for about a week around Christmas," he said.
"I'll be pretty emotional to get back up there at Boone Pickens Stadium to call the Cowboys out with Coach Gundy, and the first time Bullet hits the field, it's going to be special."