Hatchell diagnosed with leukemia

Oct. 14, 2013 @ 04:42 PM

North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has been diagnosed with leukemia, the school announced this afternoon.

The 61-year-old said she will stay involved with the team’s day-to-day operations, but will temporarily step away from her on-the-court coaching responsibilities.

“My veteran staff and team will be well prepared and meet any challenges until my return,” Hatchell said in a statement.

Hatchell won her 900th game this past season and was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

She will be treated by medical oncologist Pete Voorhees and his team at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Sylvia remains strong and in good spirits," Dr. Voorhees said in a statement. “She is physically and mentally tough, and this will serve her well on her journey. We are optimistic that she will do well.”

Associate head coach Andrew Calder, who has been Hatchell’s assistant for her entire 28-year tenure at Chapel Hill, will serve as the acting head coach. Billy Lee, a former Campbell men’s head coach for 18 years who in his third year as UNC’s director of video and scouting, will be added to the coaching staff temporarily.

The team's first exhibition is Oct. 30 against Carson-Newman. The season starts Oct. 8 against Air Force at Carmichael Arena.