November 5, 2011

Stealth Coach Diagnosed with Cancer

from press release

EVERETT, Wash. – Washington Stealth head coach Chris Hall has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his right tonsil and will miss portions of the Stealth's upcoming training camp and the beginning of the regular season as he undergoes radiation treatment.

"The thoughts and support of the Stealth organization are with Chris and his family," said Stealth owner Denise Watkins. "The most important thing right now is his health, and helping him in every way possible is our number one priority. Coach Hall's experience as an athlete and awareness of his personal health helped catch this early, which physicians say will increase his odds of beating this disease."

Hall, who is entering his fourth season as the Stealth Head Coach, received the diagnosis earlier this week. After feeling some irritation in his throat, Hall visited his doctor in Victoria, B.C., where an abnormality was discovered on his right tonsil. A biopsy discovered the abnormal growth is in fact cancerous, but the tumor is localized and expected to be fully treatable. He will immediately begin a four-to-six week radiation treatment process to eliminate the tumor.

Hall, a stern competitor during his playing days and equally so as a coach, is taking that same approach with his most recent challenge.

"I'm looking forward to starting the treatment," he said. "Like anything in life, I want to take the bull by the horns and face it head on. I am happy that we have a plan and this is curable. I want to beat this and get back on the floor with the team and work towards winning another championship."

The Stealth has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success during Hall's tenure as Head Coach, winning back-to-back National Lacrosse League Western Division titles and earning its first ever league championship in 2010. Hall alerted his players and staff of the situation on a conference call this morning.

"Something like this really puts things in perspective," says Stealth Captain Jason Bloom. "First and foremost, this team is a family. Lacrosse is secondary right now and as a team, we are behind Coach Hall and his family 110%. And on the floor, we are going to play with the same focus and heart that he's instilled in us and make sure when he returns, we are in position to accomplish our team's goals."

In Hall's absence, defensive coordinator Art Webster will lead the team along with the rest of the Stealth's stellar coaching staff.

"We have a great organization from the ownership to the players and coaching staff," Hall added. "If one piece of the team is missing, the other parts step up and fill the gap. This shouldn't be a set back as far as our preparation for the season and continuing our winning ways. I am confident the team will do what is always expected of them on and off the floor."

Hall is among the greatest coaches in the history of the NLL. He currently ranks fourth on the league's all-time wins list with 69 career victories and is just one of three coaches in NLL history to win a championship with two different teams. But as the 2012 season approaches, Hall has his efforts focused on winning a different battle.

"We all face little bumps in the road throughout life, but this is more than a little bump and I need to pay my full attention to this," Hall said. "This is a very close-knit, family-oriented organization and knowing I have their support makes me extremely happy and even more confident that I will beat this."

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