Digger Phelps has been diagnosed with the bladder cancer, but the 71-year-old ESPN analyst who already beat prostate cancer said he’s keeping a positive outlook this time around.
Phelps already had successful surgery to treat the bladder cancer and now is getting ready for follow-up treatment near his home in South Bend, Indiana.
Digger Phelps has been a college basketball analyst for ESPN for the last 20 years, and said he plans to be back to work with the next season. He was also the coach of the Notre Dame men’s basketball team for 20 seasons, amassing a 393-197 record. He also led the team to 14 seasons of at least 20 wins and took the Fighting Irish to the school’s only Final Four appearance.
Phelps has done work outside of basketball as well. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he was influential in restoring various programs at John McDonogh High School in New Orleans. Phelps made gifts that helped restore the sports programs and launch a four-year Culinary Academy in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation and the Recovery School District.A sort of renaissance man, Phelps has been known for his love of opera and his commitment to civic engagement. After he left Notre Dame, Phelps worked for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in George H.W. Bush’s administration served as an observer in the 1993 elections in Cambodia.
In a statement, Phelps said that “he and his family appreciate your thoughts and prayers as he prepares for the 2013-2014 college basketball season.”
It appears Digger Phelps caught the cancer early. His friend and fellow ESPN analyst Dick Vitale tweeted an update about Phelps, writing:
Digger Phelps told me that his bladder cancer has not spread & early detection was the key – in really good spirits & very optimistic.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 26, 2013
Digger Phelps has beat cancer before. In 2010 he had a successful treatment for a bout of prostate cancer.