Tar Heels coach Hatchell diagnosed with leukemia

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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell is temporarily stepping away from her on-court coaching responsibilities due to a recent diagnosis of leukemia.

In a release put out by the athletics department on Monday, Hatchell stated, “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.”

Continuing on, her comments read:

“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. My veteran staff and team will be well prepared and meet any challenges until my return. Don’t forget I am a Tar Heel woman!”

Hatchell was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

The 2013-14 season is Hatchell’s 39th as a collegiate head coach and her 28th with the Tar Heels while possessing an overall record of 908-321, making her one of only three head coaches in women’s basketball to win 900 games.

Hatchell currently stands second in all-time wins with 908 and is first among active coaches while having led the Tar Heels to a 636-241 mark.

She has won AIAW, NAIA and NCAA national championships, including the 1994 NCAA title with UNC, while also claiming eight ACC Tournament titles with the team.

Associate head coach Andrew Calder, who is also in his 28th season with the Tar Heels, will direct the team during Hatchell’s absence.

Calder, alongside Hatchell at North Carolina, has been a part of six 30-win seasons and three Final Fours, including the national championship in 1994, and will begin the season guiding a team that has the top-ranked incoming freshman class in the country.

Billy Lee, UNC’s director of video and scouting and special assistant to the head coach, will temporarily be added to the coaching staff as a full-time assistant, so that the Tar Heels will have a full complement of coaches on the court to work with.

A former men’s head coach at Campbell for 18 seasons, Lee is in his third year at North Carolina.