DENVER — University of Denver Head Volleyball Coach Tom Hogan is used to making the calls, but earlier this summer, he received one that he never expected to get.
"They determined that I had stage 2 cancer and that I'd have to go through chemotherapy," he said.
After the initial shock, it was time to draw up an attack.
"Once I learned a little bit more about testicular cancer, I learned that it was treatable, something that you can recover from and live a normal life," Hogan said. "So after that, the coach side of me kind of took over and it became more of a game plan. Like, 'What's the process? What steps do we need to take? How are we going to beat cancer?'"
The game plan was laid out: 12 weeks of aggressive therapy. But even that wasn't going to keep him off the floor.
"I was lucky enough to convince my doctor that I would be able to come back to coach every third week of every cycle," he said. "There's some stipulations. I have to wash and sanitize my hands like crazy, I have to wear an N95 mask when I'm out on the floor coaching in the gym, and then I can't travel as well, so that was another stipulation. But I told him, this is going to help me mentally get through this."
It was a treatment plan for his mental health, but Hogan knew he wasn't quite strong enough to assume his typical position at the helm.
"When I came back into the gym, I addressed the team and said that I'm more here in a helper capacity and an assistant capacity, and they really appreciated it," he said.
The Pioneers just appreciate having Hogan back by their side, and they can hone in on his perseverance when they're rallying for a point.
"I think it puts things into perspective," he said. "If you have a bad match, or maybe a difficult day in class, but you see me working hard to support them, I think it helps them with perspective and it helps them kind of fight through things a little bit better."
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