Bill Searcey Reflects on Battle with Cancer, Touching Moment with Alabama AD Greg Byrne
Former University of Alabama offensive lineman Bill Searcey has overcome many obstacles in his life. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, and pain pills. Obesity. Homelessness. Even more recently, pancreatic cancer.
In the fall of 2018, Searcey, now 62, received, at the time, what was viewed as a death sentence.
“It is one of, if not, the worst cancer you can get,” Searcey said on the All Things Bama Podcast. “It was the day after the 40th reunion of the 1978 national championship team that I found out I had it.”
If there was one thing, the large framed lineman, who was coached under Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, learned from the legendary coach, it was toughness.
The next year was filled with radiation and chemo treatments, surgeries, and doctor appointments galore. Anxiety, doubt may have crept in, but Searcey was rooted in his faith not to let a diagnosis get the best of him.
“Last fall, just a few months back, I was declared cancer free,” Searcey said. “There was a lot of pain and prayer in that season. I want to thank the Lord for getting me through it.”
Throughout the entire ordeal, Searcey remembers a touching moment with Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne that sticks with him now.
“The night before I had surgery done,” Searcey said. “I remember getting a phone call from a number I did not know. I pick up the phone and it is Greg Bryne from the university. Now, you have to understand, I did not know him or had not met him before in my life.
“He had heard about my story and me battling cancer so he wanted to call me. He reassured me that the university was thinking about, praying for me, and standing behind me while I was going through this. Only class acts do that kind of thing and he did it.
“For him to have the class, to pick up a phone and call a stranger just because I played football at Alabama 40 years ago, meant a lot to me at the time and still does. That is the kind of people we have that represent Alabama.”
Searcey certainly has a new chapter to add to his 2013 autobiography, High Tide: A Story of Football, Freefall, and Forgiveness, which details his aforementioned personal demons in greater lengths.
Life has not gotten much easier for Searcey as months ago he suffered a seizure and stroke that left both pelvis bones broken. As he is in the middle of physical therapy appointments, he remains resilient as ever and confident that his faith will allow him to overcome yet another tough hurdle.
"I am laying here talking to you with two broken legs," Searcey said. "But I just want everyone to know how powerful Jesus is in my life and can be in their life. I said this while I was fighting cancer that I did not understand how anyone could go through a battle with cancer, if they did not know Jesus.
"I will say it again right now, I do not know how anyone does what I am doing right now and endures all of this, without having Jesus in their life."