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North Carolina

UNC's Hatchell has leukemia

Posted October 14, 2013
Updated October 15, 2013

— Sylvia Hatchell, the Hall of Fame women's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is temporarily stepping away from her on-the-court coaching responsibilities, officials said Monday.

“I am going to be involved in a treatment plan established by Dr. Pete Voorhees, medical oncologist, and his team from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center,” Hatchell said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in my doctors. There is a reason why the North Carolina Cancer Hospital ranks as one of the top cancer facilities in the nation.

“I will remain very much involved with my team and day-to-day operations here at UNC and expect to return to my sideline responsibilities as soon as possible," she said. "My veteran staff and team will be well prepared and meet any challenges until my return."

Hatchell stepping away from UNC after leukemia diagnosis Hatchell stepping away from UNC after leukemia diagnosis

Associate head coach Andrew Calder will direct the team during Hatchell’s absence. Calder is in his 28th season with the Tar Heels and has been a part of six 30-win seasons and three Final Fours, including the national championship in 1994.

Voorhees, an associate professor at UNC, called Hatchell "physically and mentally tough," but said stepping away from the rigors of coaching "will serve her well on her journey."

“Sylvia remains strong and in good spirits,” he said in a statement. "We are optimistic that she will do well.”

Last month, Hatchell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During her 28 years leading the Tar Heels, she has compiled a 636-241 mark, won AIAW, NAIA and NCAA national championships and claimed eight ACC Tournament titles.

Overall, she has a 908-321 record in 39 seasons as a collegiate basketball coach, making her one of only three head coaches in women’s basketball to win 900 games.

“Sylvia has our complete support and is in our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery,” UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “Sylvia is a fighter, and her enduring spirit will aid her greatly. Her staff and players, family and members of the athletics and University community will do what we can to bolster those efforts. Sylvia has been a long-time supporter of the Lineberger Center and is in the best hands possible.”

“I’m heartbroken for Sylvia, Sammy and Van," UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "I know how much Sylvia loves to coach and compete with her team, so any time that she misses will be difficult. But she’s tough, and she will fight this with everything she has. All of us at Carolina and all of her friends in the coaching community will support her 100 percent in this fight.”

51 Comments

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  • Steven Oct 15, 4:04 p.m.

    Wishing her all the best in her fight.

  • heelsforever Oct 15, 2:45 p.m.

    I have a feeling she is going to beat this thing. God speed Coach Hatchell!

  • alimoore15 Oct 15, 1:35 p.m.

    I know she will fight the good fight, in the same competitive spirit she carries into every practice and every game. We are all pulling for you Coach!!
    Prayers going up to you and your family!

    So nice to see this rival community pulling together, just like we did for Kay! It's way bigger than sports!!

  • Brogden Oct 15, 1:25 p.m.

    I am a UNC fan, a Rams Club member but more than that I am a Sylvia Fan!!!
    We are both alums of Carson-Newman. We both enjoy Cherry Grove Beach as our second home. She is a terrific person and my thoughts and prayers will be with her through out this!

  • ncstateforever Oct 15, 11:19 a.m.

    Sorry to hear this about a great coach and woman. Hope she can fight and beat this dreaded disease.

  • jgilchr Oct 15, 9:49 a.m.

    This Wolfpack fan and alum wishes Coach Hatchell a quick recovery and a quick return to the court! Yes we have rivalries but that is what makes it fun (and fun is what it is supposed to be). Coach Hatchell helps make that happen.

  • duke parent Oct 15, 9:22 a.m.

    Sorry to hear Coach Hatchell is ill. Hope her treatment is effective and we see her back coaching soon.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 15, 8:45 a.m.

    May God Bless Coach Hatchell, her family, the Doctors, Nurses and support personnel involved in her care. And as fans of our different Universities may we all unite and redouble our efforts to help find a cure for this terrible disease.

  • Turheel Oct 15, 8:30 a.m.

    Thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Hatchell. I know she will fight this with all that she has. Be strong!

  • Elvisisdead Oct 15, 8:17 a.m.

    Prayers go out to Coach Hatchell. I hope you recover soon. This really brings the importance of... View More

    — Posted by wolfbitesyourheels

    Could not agree more.

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