Steve Lavin Coached All of Last Season With Prostate CancerPosted by rtmsf on April 8th, 2011
In a bit of a shocker, St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin revealed through a press release today that he spent his inaugural season as the captain of the Red Storm ship with a diagnosis of prostate cancer hanging over his head. The 46-year old coach led the Johnnies to their most successful season in a decade, going 21-12 and finishing tied for the third in the rugged Big East before struggling in the postseason when guard DJ Kennedy went down with an injury. Although prostate cancer is one of thee most treatable forms of the disease, it’s never an easy day when you as a patient hear the “c” word from your doctor. From the school’s statement:
My family feels fortunate that through annual health exams, we detected my condition at an early stage. This past fall I didn’t want to distract our team, but with the season behind us, we are now working with medical experts and taking the proper steps to tackle this health challenge head on.
A physician friend of ours recently told us that cancer patients fall into two distinct categories: 1) those who want treatment immediately, as in, today; and 2) those who don’t want their treatment to get in the way of their busy schedules. Clearly Lavin falls into the latter category as someone who was willing to put off his own treatment for a six-month period so as to not distract his team. But wow, mid-40s is awfully young to have a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and it proves again just how important it is for even busy folks to have physicals on a regular basis.
Still, can we get our Big East COY vote back? Mike Brey led Notre Dame to a fantastic season that culminated in an NCAA #2 seed, but he didn’t do it with the specter of our ugliest disease hanging over his head. While we’re sure that Lavin wouldn’t have delayed his treatment unless it was completely safe to do so, that doesn’t reduce the stress of knowing that your body is waging war against yourself at the same time you’re trying to build a winning program from scratch. We were already fans of the job Lavin did in Queens this year, but now we’re even more impressed. Godspeed on your journey against this thing, Coach.