Chapel Hill, NC, United States (4E Sports) – North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said she could coach the Tar Heels from the sideline for the first time this season if the No. 12 Tar Heels make it to the Final Four.
“When the team goes to the Final Four in Nashville, Dr. (Pete) Voorhees said it is ‘very doable.’ ” said Hatchell, who has been away from the bench area – although sometimes in an elevated box at Carmichael Arena – all season while she has undergone treatment for leukemia.
“I told (the team) ‘When we get there, I’ll sing and dance with you on the table,’” she added.
Hatchell also said her doctor promised to have her at 100 percent when the 2014-15 season starts.
“I hope I look pretty good because I feel pretty good,” said Hatchell, who still generally wears a medical mask but removes it for speeches and TV interviews.
“I’m actually doing fantastic. I’ve come a long way and am at the end of this journey. We’re waiting on my immune system to do one of the most favorite words I ever say, and that’s ‘rebound,’” she added.
The Tar Heels (26-9) beat Michigan State 62-53 in the second round Tuesday at Carmichael Arena to become the only Triangle basketball team to make a Sweet 16, after surviving a 60-58 squeaker against little Tennessee Martin in the first round.
North Carolina will take on No. 1 seed South Carolina (29-4), a team they beat 74-66 during their annual trip to Myrtle Beach Dec. 18, on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Stanford (31-3) has the No. 2 seed and Penn State (24-7) the No. 3 in the region, the only one in which the top four seeds are still alive. Defending champion and top-ranked Connecticut (36-0) will likely be waiting for the survivor in the national semifinals.
Long-time associate head coach Andrew Calder has been handling sideline duties in Hatchell’s stead.
“That’s fantastic news,” he said of the possibility of her return. “That would just be the greatest thing right there. However, we have to beat South Carolina (and the next opponent).”