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Tumor in coach's son was malignant

The tumor that Patrick McCaffery, son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, had removed this week was malignant, several media outlets reported Friday.

Patrick, who turned 14 Thursday, had a growth removed from his thyroid Wednesday. Fran had flown to Iowa City for the operation, then back to Dayton, Ohio, that night in time to coach his Hawkeyes as they lost to Tennessee in a first-round NCAA Tournament game.

"(Wife) Margaret and I would like to thank everyone again for the outpouring of support from across the country for our son Patrick and family this past week," McCaffery said in a statement. "We appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers."

The coach also said that the family was trying to decide the best course of treatment.

Backpedaling: Announcer Andrew Catalon used a Polish slur late in Gonzaga's victory over Oklahoma State on Friday in San Diego, then apologized quickly.

On TNT, Catalon said "Hack-a-Polack" in reference to Oklahoma State fouling Bulldogs center Przemek Karnowski, who is from Poland, late in the game.

Color analyst Mike Gminski, of Polish heritage, said to Catalon right after the remark, "Easy now." Catalon said, "Oh, sorry, Mike," and Gminski laughed.

Catalon also apologized on Twitter and to Karnowski in person. A short time later, a post on Karnowski's Twitter page read: "Mr. @AndrewCatalon has just apologized in my person and I really appreciate it! But the most important thing right now is we have this W!"

Girl's fight inspires: A tale that already included Michigan State's Adreian Payne and an 8-year-old fan with cancer known as "Princess Lacey" on Twitter now includes ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who broke a personal rule to show support.

"That little girl has more toughness in her than a football or basketball team combined," Bilas said, explaining why he reversed his longtime policy of not following anyone on Twitter and began following Lacey Holsworth.

"Wait, what?!?! @JayBilas follows ME??????" Holsworth (@adorablelacey) tweeted in a response. "thank you!!"

Lacey has neuroblastoma, a fetal-nerve cell cancer.

"She had a seizure (Wednesday) and started to perk up a little this evening," Lacey's father, Matt Holsworth, said late Thursday, not long after Payne scored 41 points in Michigan State's second-round victory over Delaware.

Matt Holsworth said doctors had changed some of his daughter's medications in response and noted that though she could not watch the whole game, Lacey perked up when Payne did well.

After Thursday's game, Payne talked as much about what his performance meant to Lacey as it did to the Spartans.

"It's like having a family member who's really sick," he said. "The only thing you can do is play basketball. … It feels like I'm doing something, in a way, to make her feel better."

Watching Ollie: Villanova coach Jay Wright recalls a time four years ago when he saw Kevin Ollie and then-Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun during a recruiting trip.

"I remember Jim saying to me, 'This guy is going to be really good. This guy is going to be a great head coach someday,' " Wright recalled. "I'm a big Kevin Ollie fan, man."

Ollie succeeded Calhoun two years ago. He and Wright meet today when the former Big East rivals face off in a third-round East Region matchup.

Connecticut beat Saint Joseph's on Thursday for Ollie's first NCAA Tournament win. The Huskies were barred from postseason play last year because of academic sanctions. Calhoun, who won UConn's only three national titles, was in the stands cheering his successor.

Tumor in coach's son was malignant 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:35pm]

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