Former ND coach Digger Phelps beats cancer again - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Former ND coach Digger Phelps beats cancer again


Notre Dame fans have a reason to celebrate Wednesday and it's not just the coming of a national holiday. Notre Dame coaching legend Digger Phelps is once again cancer free!

The announcement marked Phelp's latest victory as the winningest coach in Irish History. He shared the news the night before he celebrates his birthday.

On the sidelines Digger Phelps knew how to encourage his team. Now the coach has had to use that determination and positivity to beat cancer, for a second time.

Three years ago Phelps battled a winning fight against prostate cancer. Thursday Phelps was happy to report he's free from the bladder cancer he's been fighting since April.

Digger said, "Even my big enemy, Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky fans were all texting me and wishing me well and I'm sure they'll boo me next year if we show up in Lexington but it just blew me away all this attention."

During Phelps' years as the Irish Head Coach he said he became more and more convinced of the power of prayer. He turned to another ND legend when he learned about his second trial with cancer.

Phelps said, "Father Hesburgh to me is a living saint."

Coach Phelps met with the retired Notre Dame President before he started treatment in April. Father Hesburgh told him to, "Have the Courage!"

After learning the great news this week about beating cancer again, he went back to Hesburgh to thank him for his inspiration.

Phelps said, "I went up to him and I said after mass, I said, 'Have the Courage!' worked.  I said I'm cancer free. You're a living saint and your blessing means a lot to me."

Phelps is using his personal experience to try and warn others. He has become an advocate for early cancer detection. He said it probably kept the cancer from spreading and saved his life twice!

Coach Phelps will celebrate his 72nd birthday on July 4th, but he has no plans to let age slow him down. He will be heading to Israel to coach a Canadian basketball team and will then continue his role as an TV basketball analyst.


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