BYU coach faces new challenge

Brigham Young University’s men’s basketball head coach and former member of Phi Slama Jama Dave Rose has been diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, according to the university’s Web site.

The disease known as pancreatic neuro-endocrine cancer was discovered after Rose underwent emergency surgery to remove his spleen and part of his pancreas at a Las Vegas hospital earlier this month. The surgery was prompted by sudden pain in Rose’s abdomen and internal bleeding while at a family reunion. The condition was confirmed by tests performed last week at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

According to, pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a ‘silent disease’ because of a lack of symptoms during its early stages. The National Cancer Institute estimates in 2009 there will be 42,470 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S., and that 35,240 will.

While Rose’s form of the disease is less common than the exocrine version, it is considered highly treatable, depending on when it is detected. The specifics of Rose’s case are not immediately known and his family and doctors are still formulating a plan of attack for treating his condition.

Rose has been with the BYU program since 1997 and head coach since 2005. Prior to that he coached at Dixie State College in Utah for seven years and became the first coach in the state to participate in the American Cancer Society’s nationwide Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. He and his wife Cheryl are also involved in the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation, with Cheryl serving as the vice chairperson.

A native Houstonian, Rose went to Dixie State College for two years after graduating from Northbrook High School. He then returned to Texas and enrolled at the University of Houston, graduating in 1983.

From 1980 to 1983 he was a shooting guard and co-captain for the Cougars, playing with the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler during the Phi Slama Jama era. Rose also completed a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manchester, England, from 1977-79 between his two years at Dixie State College.’

Through a press release sent out by the university, Rose and his family expressed their ‘appreciation to the doctors and nurses in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City who have provided and continue to provide excellent medical care.’

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