CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina Tar Heels head women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell had just gotten back from a trip to Nike headquarters in Oregon last Friday when she indicated that she felt that her new book, Fight! Fight!: Discovering Your Inner Strength When Blindsided by Life would rise to the top.
Under a week later that is exactly what happened when it became the #1 Amazon New Release in Cancer Books on Thursday, just two days after the book was officially released.
Fight! Fight!, a title the coach derived from the UNC fight song, hovered in and out of the top slot throughout the day, but mostly remained at the top of the list.
It’s a valuable and quick read packed with many details that only Hatchell can provide.
The 153-page paperback describes how she dealt with overcoming the potentially fatal disease (Acute Myeloid Leukemia – AML) right from the start which began with telling family, friends, colleagues, and her players about her diagnosis and immediate need for treatment.
As the primary source, Hatchell provides insight in how she dealt with leading her team away from the court during the 2013-2014 season, and the related issues following it including player transfers and an NCAA investigation – all storylines that keep her and the Tar Heels women’s basketball program in the forefront of news headlines right up until the present day.
Before Hatchell wrote Fight! Fight!, she was in the middle of writing her memoir based on her 40 years of coaching and earning over 700 NCAA Division I victories at the University of North Carolina during her Hall of Fame career.
However, in October of 2013 she was diagnosed with AML, one of the most serious forms of cancer for a woman of her age at 61 years old.
After an 18-month fight with the disease, she decided to put her memoir to the side, for at least another year, and wrote Fight! Fight! to help motivate and inspire readers to fight and move through whatever pain they are facing in life.
“We were working on the memoir and it was 80 to 90 percent complete,” Hatchell said.
“We were going to finish it after Naismith. Our purpose was to finish the book after the Hall of Fame and going into that season. Then when I got leukemia, everything changed and evolved. There was so much with that part of my life, I felt like it was too much to put that into the memoir book. I felt like this was something that was in a world of its own. It was something that I needed to elaborate on. I wanted more than anything else to help other people when they go through something like that, when you get that phone call, or you go through a situation like that.”
Coming up on three years since her original diagnosis, Hatchell is cancer-free and with word officially out on the book and its marked popularity, she’s keeping very busy preparing for the upcoming season while trying to help others fight the challenges they face in their lives by sharing her experiences with them.
“If I’m not a 100 percent, I’m close to it,” Hatchell said.
“I’m back and I’m doing everything I’ve ever done before.”