Valvano, ex-N.C. State coach, has cancer in back, agent says

June 19, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano has cancer in his back.

Valvano, now a television analyst with ABC and ESPN, has not felt well for more than a month and has been undergoing tests in Raleigh, his agent, Art Kaminsky, said.

Kaminsky said that Valvano was given the diagnosis this week but that the extent of the illness had not been determined.

"It's serious, I won't deny that, but there are many details we don't know yet," Kaminsky said.

Valvano, 46, who was unavailable for comment, will have tests in Raleigh today and will go to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York next week for extensive testing.

"We hope to get some definitive word there," Kaminsky said. "That is considered one of the greatest cancer centers in the world."

Michael Glance, an assistant to Kaminsky who also represents Valvano, said the cancer had been located in Valvano's back, but "nobody knows much more than that."

"At the time we get more details, we'll share them," Glance said.

ESPN first reported Valvano's condition at the end of its 7 p.m. "SportsCenter" newscast yesterday.

"This next story is a tough one to report," ESPN announcer Bob Ley said, "but we will tell it to you straight out, the way that Jim Valvano would want us to."

Valvano got his first head coaching job at Johns Hopkins in 1969, going 10-9 in one season. He moved to Bucknell for three seasons and Iona for five seasons.

Valvano coached at N.C. State for 10 years, compiling a 209-114 record from 1981 through 1990. He led the Wolfpack to the 1983 national championship.

A controversy following the book "Personal Fouls" led to an NCAA investigation of the Wolfpack program, NCAA probation in 1990 and, ultimately, Valvano's resignation. Wolfpack players were found to have sold game tickets and shoes. Allegations that some players participated in point-shaving has not been proved.

Late in 1990, Valvano was hired as an analyst for ABC and ESPN.

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