Sylvia Hatchell Resumes UNC Coaching Duties After Cancer Scare


Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Sylvia Hatchell, the women’s basketball coach for the North Carolina Tar Heels, has resumed her full load of coaching duties following the conclusion of her chemotherapy treatments for leukemia.

Hatchell, who was diagnosed soon after practice began for the 2013-14 season in mid-October of 2013, is now back on the road recruiting and participating in speaking engagements for The Rams Club Tar Heel Tour events in Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte.

“I’m happy to report that Coach Hatchell has completed chemotherapy for her acute myeloid leukemia,” said Dr. Pete Voorhees, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in a press release on Monday.

“She remained courageous and strong throughout the course of treatment, which allowed her to exceed all expectations. Her disease is in complete remission, and we remain highly optimistic about her future.

“Coach Hatchell will be back for the upcoming season, and I expect that her experience over the last many months, as difficult as it was, will only make her a stronger person and coach.”

Hatchell, who has guided the Tar Heels to eight ACC Tournament championships and an NCAA Championship in 1994, has 900 career wins and is the winningest active coach in the women’s game. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

“There is no question its been a tough last seven months since being diagnosed with leukemia back in October,” Hatchell said. “But through it all this has only made me stronger. My mental toughness has increased ten-fold. Trust me if you can get through chemo, you can pretty much go through anything.

“I’m excited about the future of our program. 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.”