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University of North Carolina women ‘s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell is the winner of the ninth annual Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Only weeks after being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in October 2013, Hatchell was diagnosed with leukemia and was forced to miss the entire 2013-14 season. After undergoing a series of chemotherapy treatments that lasted until March 2014, she was cleared to return to the bench for the 2014-15 season. As of February 20th, Hatchell’s Tar Heels were 21-6, 8-5 in the ACC.
Hatchell said, “ I’m honored and humbled by this award, and it’s even more special, because I knew Bob Bradley.” On her battle with leukemia, Hatchell said, “It’s tough. It’s hard. But you can beat it. Every day is a blessing. Now, I try to support others who have leukemia, because I know how important it is to have that support.”
UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said, “The resiliency that Coach Hatchell displayed in her fight against leukemia was truly inspiring. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award. “She continues to be a role model for others that are currently battling the disease.”
A native of Gastonia, NC, Hatchell graduated cum laude from Carson-Newman College in 1974. She began her college coaching career at Francis Marion, where her Patriot teams went 272-80 over 11 seasons, including a 36-2 record in 1986, when they won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship.
Hatchell is in her 29th season at North Carolina and 40th overall. As of February 20th, her UNC teams were 684-259. Hatchell’s 1993-94 UNC team won the NCAA national championship. Overall her teams have won 956 games and lost 339.
Hatchell and her husband Sammy have been married since 1979. Their son Van is a former UNC men’s basketball player and a graduate of UNC.
ACSMA will present Hatchell with the Bradley Award during the ACC Women’s Tournament in Greensboro, NC.
A joint venture of the ACC and ACSMA, the Bradley Award is given annually in memory of the longtime sports information director at Clemson University whose positive attitude inspired all who knew him as he battled cancer. The distinction goes to an ACC student-athlete, coach or administrator in men’s or women’s basketball who has overcome significant hardship to contribute to his or her team.
ABOUT THE ATLANTIC COAST SPORTS MEDIA ASSOCIATION
The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association is an organization of journalists dedicated to fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between the news media and the institutions and administration of the Atlantic Coast Conference.