CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- "You have been spared for a reason, now the search for that starts. What is the reason that God gave you another chance at life?”

Sam Wyche has always been known for football. He played at Furman, then in the NFL, then went on to coach the Bengals and several other NFL teams in his career.

But this past September, he earned his most proud title: organ recipient. After over a decade of heart trouble, he came to Carolina Medical Center with days to live.

“The doctors came in and said, ‘we just don’t have a heart," Wyche said.

Sam Wyche, at 71-years-old, was ready for the end, prepared to meet his maker. But on September 13, just hours after being told ‘no’, doctors found a match.

“The expectation for this new heart is that it will last a very long time," says Dr. Sanjeev Gulati, Wyche's cardiologist at Carolinas Medical Center. "So, taking full advantage of that is what we want him to do.”

Wyche is taking full advantage, urging others to become organ donors, so more people can have a second chance.

He says now life has new meaning, new beauty.

“I think you observe things that you took for granted before, for sure," says Wyche. "We have a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I’ve looked at it a thousand times and thought it was pretty, but never quite the same way.”

Doctors say Wyche’s recovery is fantastic.

As for Wyche, he is happy and thankful to be alive. He lives with his wife in Pickens, South Carolina, and plans to spend lots of time with his two adult children and six grandchildren.