Digger Phelps cancer diagnosis
ESPN college basketball analyst and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, according to the network.
The charismatic television personality has undergone surgery and will begin follow-up treatment next week near his South Bend home.
A mainstay on ESPN’s acclaimed College Gameday program, the 71-year-old Phelps has been a college basketball analyst for the network since 1993. He says he intends to return to the desk, where his frisky commentary, matching highlighter-tie schtick, unabashed Notre Dame loyalty and tendency to pick the home team on set have shaped one of ESPN’s most endearing celebrities.
Phelps went 393-197 in 20 seasons coaching the Fighting Irish, winning 20 or more games in 14 of them. He led Notre Dame to its only Final Four (1978) to date and shares the NCAA record for most upsets (7) over the nation’s top-ranked team.
Phelps’ coaching legacy reached its apex on January 19, 1974, when his Irish rallied to upset Bill Walton and top-ranked UCLA. The stirring comeback ended the Bruins’ record 88-game winning streak.