Coach To Undergo Cancer Treatment

Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Lavin has prostate cancer and will soon begin treatment, the University announced today.

“My family feels fortunate that through annual health exams, we detected my condition at an early stage,” Lavin said in a statement from the University.

Lavin was diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer last fall, during his first year as coach of the Red Storm. The diagnosis was not made public, however, until the University’s announcement today.

“This past fall I didn’t want to distract our team,” Lavin explained.  “But with the season behind us, we are now working with medical experts and taking the proper steps to tackle this health challengehead on.”

The Athletic Communications department said Lavin’s treatment will not interfere with his year-round coaching duties.

Dr. Jonathan Schiff, a New York City urologist, said, in the statement, that Lavin’s cancer is low grade and felt it could “wait for treatment until the conclusion of the basketball season.”

Schiff expects Lavin to be cured by treatment.

Athletics Director Chris Monasch said the department’s first priority is to support Lavin and his wife, Mary.

“We are encouraged by the early diagnosis,” Monasch said. “We do not anticipate any disruption in his duties as our head coach.”

Lavin was hired to lead the Red Storm in April 2010 and revived the program, leading the Men’s Basketball team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002. Under Lavin, the team tied for third place in the Big East conference with an overall record of 21-12.

Lavin is actively involved with several organizations benefiting cancer research and awareness, including The V Foundation, named for Jim Valvano, a former basketball coach who died of cancer in 1993. Lavin will serve as chairman of the foundation’s Jimmy V New York City Basketball Dinner/Auction in October.

John Leshney, a V Foundation executive, has known Lavin for six years and said Lavin has become even more involved with the foundation since coming to St. John’s.

“His heart has always been in the right place,” Leshney said. “And now it’s our turn to be there for him.”