Overcoming insurmountable odds

February 11, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Scott and Megan Kirchoff’s unconventional love story

Sports | Jenny Hudalla

Overcoming insurmountable odds

Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Megan Kirchoff.

When quarterbacks coach Scott Kirchoff first met his wife Megan, he wasn’t accompanied by a barbershop quartet and a dozen roses.

Equipped only with his charm and a single piece of candy, Scott was sweating bullets as he approached her.

“I walked up to her, put a little chocolate mint on her desk, said ‘I think you need that,’ and just walked away. “Then, later, I emailed her and asked her how the mint was.”

Although his first move wasn’t his smoothest, Scott worked his way up to actually asking Megan, an assistant volleyball coach, out on a date.

After stealing her number from the athletic office and deliberately calling her during volleyball practice when he knew she wouldn’t answer, Scott left a message on her cell phone and convinced her to play a game of PIG.

Even though the competitive couple still playfully argues over who earned the bragging rights – Scott claims there was “an awful lot of winning going on on [his] side" – their relationship is a simple one.

“I always have my best friend around to do something with,” Megan said with a shrug. “I love being able to just go and play basketball or do something active with him.”

While they still exhibit the giddiness of newlyweds, the Kirchoffs also display the kind of premature wisdom that comes with hardship.

Having been unexpectedly diagnosed with kidney failure at age 31, Scott received a transplant early this September, limiting his ability to carry out his role as Bethel’s quarterbacks coach. While he waited three weeks before returning to the field, Megan was able to continue coaching the volleyball team the very night after Scott’s surgery.

“[Head coach] Gretchen Hunt was awesome,” Megan said. “She allowed me to take the time off that I needed to, and everyone was so loving and caring.”

But the five months that have passed since Scott’s surgery haven’t been easy. His body has started to reject the kidney several times, and he has had two biopsies to ensure that the damage wasn’t severe enough to require another new kidney altogether.

Even though kidney transplants generally last between 12 and 14 years, the Kirchoffs are hopeful that Scott’s will last longer because of his young age.

“The numbers are skewed because most patients are older,” Scott said. “Some kidneys last as long as 40 years. Technology is continually growing, and it will only improve from here.”

Even though Scott is still recovering, the couple wants to do something special for their first anniversary on Feb. 25. Because most of their summer trips were canceled due to the surgery, Megan and Scott have decided to take a snowboarding and skiing trip up north. Fittingly, the action-loving coaches plan to find a new activity for each subsequent anniversary, celebrating the continual growth and strengthening of their relationship.

“Sometimes it seems like we’ve been married for 15 years with our level of trust and maturity,” Megan said. “But I think [this experience] has made us a little immature, too, in the sense that we’re going to enjoy life and not worry so much.”

“I think there’s a sense of rawness that comes with it,” Scott added. “Megan has seen all she can possibly see from me, having been near death. There’s nothing left to expose.”

Given the hardship the Kirchoffs have gone through of late, they have reevaluated their collective purpose and further committed themselves to serving others. Born during the process of dealing with Scott’s illness, the idea for a summer missions trip to Slovakia has slowly become a reality for the couple.

“We obviously have a passion for the kids we work with,” Megan said. “So we want to take a group of athletes, combine the sports and bridge the gap between different teams.”

Although the details have not been finalized, Megan said the athletes will teach English to students in the mornings and help a missionary run a sports camp in the afternoons.

For the Kirchoffs, the trip is just one more way to serve the Lord. Both Scott and Megan have learned to lean heavily on their faith, relying on God to draw them closer to Him in the midst of an unforeseeable obstacle. Through everything, the couple’s love for each other and for God has never wavered.

“Going through pain doesn’t take away God’s faithfulness,” Scott said. “It proves it.”

When quarterbacks coach Scott Kirchoff first met his wife Megan, he wasn’t accompanied by a barbershop quartet and a dozen roses.

Equipped only with his charm and a single piece of candy, Scott was sweating bullets as he approached her.

“I walked up to her, put a little chocolate mint on her desk, said ‘I think you need that,’ and just walked away. “Then, later, I emailed her and asked her how the mint was.”

Although his first move wasn’t his smoothest, Scott worked his way up to actually asking Megan, an assistant volleyball coach, out on a date.

After stealing her number from the athletic office and deliberately calling her during volleyball practice when he knew she wouldn’t answer, Scott left a message on her cell phone and convinced her to play a game of PIG.

Even though the competitive couple still playfully argues over who earned the bragging rights – Scott claims there was “an awful lot of winning going on on [his] side" – their relationship is a simple one.

“I always have my best friend around to do something with,” Megan said with a shrug. “I love being able to just go and play basketball or do something active with him.”

While they still exhibit the giddiness of newlyweds, the Kirchoffs also display the kind of premature wisdom that comes with hardship.

Having been unexpectedly diagnosed with kidney failure at age 31, Scott received a transplant early this September, limiting his ability to carry out his role as Bethel’s quarterbacks coach. While he waited three weeks before returning to the field, Megan was able to continue coaching the volleyball team the very night after Scott’s surgery.

“[Head coach] Gretchen Hunt was awesome,” Megan said. “She allowed me to take the time off that I needed to, and everyone was so loving and caring.”

But the five months that have passed since Scott’s surgery haven’t been easy. His body has started to reject the kidney several times, and he has had two biopsies to ensure that the damage wasn’t severe enough to require another new kidney altogether.

Even though kidney transplants generally last between 12 and 14 years, the Kirchoffs are hopeful that Scott’s will last longer because of his young age.

“The numbers are skewed because most patients are older,” Scott said. “Some kidneys last as long as 40 years. Technology is continually growing, and it will only improve from here.”

Even though Scott is still recovering, the couple wants to do something special for their first anniversary on Feb. 25. Because most of their summer trips were canceled due to the surgery, Megan and Scott have decided to take a snowboarding and skiing trip up north. Fittingly, the action-loving coaches plan to find a new activity for each subsequent anniversary, celebrating the continual growth and strengthening of their relationship.

“Sometimes it seems like we’ve been married for 15 years with our level of trust and maturity,” Megan said. “But I think [this experience] has made us a little immature, too, in the sense that we’re going to enjoy life and not worry so much.”

“I think there’s a sense of rawness that comes with it,” Scott added. “Megan has seen all she can possibly see from me, having been near death. There’s nothing left to expose.”

Given the hardship the Kirchoffs have gone through of late, they have reevaluated their collective purpose and further committed themselves to serving others. Born during the process of dealing with Scott’s illness, the idea for a summer missions trip to Slovakia has slowly become a reality for the couple.

“We obviously have a passion for the kids we work with,” Megan said. “So we want to take a group of athletes, combine the sports and bridge the gap between different teams.”

Although the details have not been finalized, Megan said the athletes will teach English to students in the mornings and help a missionary run a sports camp in the afternoons.

For the Kirchoffs, the trip is just one more way to serve the Lord. Both Scott and Megan have learned to lean heavily on their faith, relying on God to draw them closer to Him in the midst of an unforeseeable obstacle. Through everything, the couple’s love for each other and for God has never wavered.

“Going through pain doesn’t take away God’s faithfulness,” Scott said. “It proves it.”

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