Concordia University Chicago coach Tyler Jones revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis with his team and the nation when it was broadcast on ESPN last month, as he decided to take his battle public.
St. John's coach Steve Lavin is the high-profile coach who waged a quiet war with prostate cancer last season before revealing his own diagnosis in April and vowing to coach the coming season.
Both Jones and Lavin underwent treatment late last week with the intention to coach, and as practices are set to get going, it's these two men who had a lot more weighing on their minds than just basketball this offseason.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Concordia University Chicago players made the drive in order to greet Jones coming out of the treatment center and be by his side celebrating the end of his nine-week round of proton therapy that was done with the timing of the upcoming season in mind.
"I'm glad it's over with," he said. "I’m just ready to get back to the business of basketball and teaching."
Jones finished the treatment just in time to be ready for the beginning of practice Oct. 15. Due to strict NCAA rules, coaches cannot teach players until that date, so every day is significant.
In fact, he said he chose proton therapy over chemotherapy mainly because he felt it would allow him to continue coaching. In the treatment, proton beams, originally designed for use in nuclear physics research, are used to treat cancers of the prostate as well as of the bone and eye. They have proved effective in curing the diseases while leaving surrounding tissues unharmed, medical reports show.
Lavin underwent successful surgery on Thursday and was expected to resume his coaching duties after reporting no complications, according to the school.
"We are confident that this course of treatment will lead to a cancer-free life," Lavin said in a statement before the procedure.
With the outlook for Jones and Lavin appear good because the cancer was detected early, now they can get to the business at hand on the court. What a good feeling that must be for both.