CHAPEL HILL– UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell will be stepping away from her on-court coaching duties for the time being, due to a recent leukemia diagnosis.
Hatchell says she has the highest confidence in her doctors at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she will be receiving treatment.
“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,” says Hatchell. “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.
Hatchell says she will remain with the team and return to her sideline coaching as soon as possible.
“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. My veteran staff and team will be well prepared and meet any challenges until my return,” Coach Hatchell says.
Men’s basketball coach Roy Williams voiced his condolences on the disturbing news.
“I’m heartbroken for Sylvia, Sammy and Van. 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,” Coach Williams says.
Dr. Voorhees, of the Lineberger Center, says Hatchell is a strong lady, and he is optimistic that she will do well.
“Sylvia has our complete support and is in our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery,” says Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham. “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.”
Last month, Hatchell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. This year is set to be Hatchell’s 39th as a head coach and her 28th with the Tar Heels. She has an overall record of 908-321. That makes her one of only three head coaches in women’s basketball to win more than 900 games. Hatchell currently stands second in all-time wins with 908 and is first among active coaches.
Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder will assume the leadership role in Hatchell’s absence.