Hatchell back on the bench, road
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell has returned to her normal offseason schedule after completing chemotherapy treatments for leukemia.
Hatchell has been making recruiting visits along the East Coast and attending booster-club events with other UNC coaches around the state in recent weeks. In a statement from the school Monday, the Naismith Hall of Famer said “a tough last seven months” has “only made me stronger.”
“Stepping away from the sidelines has helped me see the game from a different angle. I will be more in tune than ever with the ingredients of what our players and program need to be successful,” Hatchell said.
Dr. Pete Voorhees said Hatchell’s acute myeloid leukemia is in “complete remission” and that she will be ready to return to the sideline next season.
Hatchell was diagnosed shortly before preseason practice and didn’t coach last season, although she said during the NCAA Tournament that she could have returned in a supporting role if her Tar Heels reached the Final Four.
The Tar Heels fell in a regional final, then lost star freshman Diamond DeShields to an unexpected transfer. The rest of the team that won 27 games is expected to return and UNC will add in-state point guard Jamie Cherry, The Associated Press prep basketball women’s player of the year for North Carolina and the state’s No. 2 career scorer.
Former Duke QB Barger passes
DURHAM — Jerry Barger, the 1954 ACC Player of the Year after leading Duke’s football team to the ACC championship and a victory in the Orange Bowl, passed away on Saturday in Salisbury. He was 82.
Barger was Duke’s quarterback from 1951-54 and lettered all four seasons including 1954, when he was Duke’s captain under head coach Bill Murray. The Blue Devils went 8-2-1 that year and secured the program’s third consecutive conference championship, defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and finished the year ranked 14th in the final Associated Press national poll.
In 37 career games, Barger completed 84 of 181 (.464) passes for 1,294 yards with nine touchdowns while rushing 290 times for 519 yards and 10 touchdowns. He compiled 538 yards on kickoffs and punt returns, averaged 33.15 yards on 54 punts and snagged 13 interceptions on defense.
The Chicago Bears made Barger the 23rd pick of the 1955 NFL draft.
A member of the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame, Barger, a captain the U.S. Air Force, owned the Corbin Hills Golf Course in Salisbury.
Much respect for Blivin in PAC-6
DURHAM — Jordan High School’s Millicent Blivin has won the Paul Williamson Award recognizing the female student-athlete of the year in the PAC-6.
The award is determined by the leagues athletics directors and salutes student-athletes who embody fair play, cooperation, scholarship, leadership, competitive sprit, high moral character, athletic prowess and the ability to stick with a task. Winners of the award must be held in highest esteem by their coaches, teammates, classmates and teachers.
NCCU chasing title share in MEAC
DURHAM — N.C. Central’s baseball team enters the final week of the regular season with an eye on tying Bethune-Cookman for the title in the Southern Division of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
NCCU hosts Presbyterian tonight at Durham Athletic Park (6 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com) before making up to MEAC games that were suspended due to bad weather.
The Eagles play Savannah State on Friday and then visit Florida A&M on Saturday. If NCCU wins both games, the Eagles will be co-champs of the Southern Division, although Bethune-Cookman would get the top seed based on the MEAC’s tiebreaker policy.
The MEAC Tournament is May 14-18 in Norfolk, Va.
Duke baseball in a groove
DURHAM — The Duke baseball team defeated Big South foe Longwood 6-1 in the series finale Monday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, securing the program’s first 30-win season since 2009.