Artemis Kotis, the widely admired wife of Tarpon Springs High football coach George Kotis, died after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 49.
"She is a much bigger name than me in this community," George Kotis said of his wife. "She helped me put dozens and dozens of players in college and impacted the lives of hundreds and hundreds of others. It's amazing to see the remarks of students and how much she touched them."
Mrs. Kotis was initially diagnosed in 2016 with colon cancer. Months later, the blood work was clean. The cancer appeared to be in remission. But last October, the pain came back.
Kotis said the cancer was misdiagnosed. His wife had ovarian cancer and it was spreading — fast.
"She was such a fighter throughout it all," he said.
The two have been married since 2005. They both grew up in Tarpon Springs but did not know each other until they became teachers at the school. Mrs. Kotis was in charge of the guidance department. She helped plenty of players stay on the right track academically.
Mrs. Kotis left the school system so she could use the retirement money to help pay for her treatments. George took a temporary leave from teaching so he could be with his wife as much as possible.
He will return to teaching soon. For the past three games, he was not on the sideline. Instead, he was in Boca Raton with his wife for her treatment.
There has been plenty of support in the community. A GoFundMe page raised about $15,000 and there already has been several others fundraisers by the community.
On Tuesday, the entire football team came to Kotis' house for support.
"That was really moving to have so many people there," Kotis said. "I'm not very emotional, but I told them it was okay to cry. About 10 of the players broke down after that. I've even had former players who are mountains of men shed tears."
Mrs. Kotis is survived by her husband and their daughters, Liah, 9, Chloe, 12, and Fotini, 19.
A wake will be held Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The funeral will also be held at the church Friday at 10 a.m.