Over the summer, the Cornell Athletic Department announced that Scott Thompson had stepped down from his position as men’s head basketball coach.
In the spring of 1999, Thompson was diagnosed with cancer, and had an operation to remove a tumor in his colon. To avoid distracting the team before last year’s campaign, the coach decided not to publicize his illness.
However, in May 2000, the cancer reappeared, and Thompson announced a leave of absence.
“At that point, it was a tough decision to make. I had to balance the team and my family, and at the same time give serious consideration to my health,” explained Thompson.
Finally, on July 28, Thompson officially stepped down from his head coaching spot.
“So far, all my tests have been very positive,” said Thompson, concerning his health, “I’m concerned with my immune system right now, and so taking time off over the summer was good for energy.”
Thompson took time this summer to talk to others about his condition, and has stressed how early detection is a key in treating cancer.
“[Doctors] caught this during a regular physical checkup; had I not had the physical, this could have been much worse,” he said. “I can’t tell you how important it is to have regular physicals.”
While he has stepped down from coaching, Thompson is staying in the Cornell athletics, agreeing to take a position in the Athletic Department dealing with administration and fundraising. Thompson will also assist Associate Director of Athletics Bob Chaddock in finding a new head coach.
“I’ll be there to look for [a new coach] and I’ll be there for the team,” said Thompson, “it’s impossible to completely step away from a great group of players.
“I love Ithaca and I love Cornell; I know I want to stay here for a while. I’ll be at all the games, only in a different seat.”
Archived article by Tom McNulty