Chapel Hill, NC, United States (4E Sports) – North Carolina announced that longtime women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell will temporarily step down from her post after she was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Sylvia has our complete support and is in our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery,” UNC athletic director 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,” Cunningham added.
Cunningham said that Andrew Calder, a longtime assistant coach, will lead the team during Hatchell’s absence. Like Hatchell, Calder is in his 28th year with the UNC women’s basketball team.
The 61-year-old Hatchell, who was inducted last month into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, will receive treatment at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“I have the utmost confidence in my doctors,” Hatchell said in a statement. “There is a reason why the North Carolina Cancer Hospital ranks as one of the top cancer facilities in the nation.”
Considered as one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in history, Hatchell’s 908 victories – 636 of which have come during her 27 seasons at UNC – rank second all-time, behind former Tennessee coach Pat Summit.
Hatchell, whose overall record is 908-321, is one of three women’s basketball coaches who have won at least 900 games. At UNC, she is 636-241, and she guided the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1994.