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Former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps now cancer-free

Jul 3, 2013, 8:30 PM EDT

Dick Vitale, Richard Phelps AP

Just over two months after announcing that he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, former Notre Dame head coach and current ESPN commentator Digger Phelps learned on Monday that he’s now cancer-free.

The good news came on the heels of Phelps’ completion of a six-week treatment program, and it was a great early present for the coach as he’ll celebrate his 72nd birthday Thursday. This marks the second time in three years that Phelps has beaten cancer, as he had to deal with prostate cancer in 2010.

One day after finding out the good news, Phelps made sure to thank Notre Dame president emeritus Rev. Theodore Hesburg, C.S.C. on the South Bend campus.

On Tuesday, Phelps made sure to find on campus the Most Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., university president emeritus who offered his guidance and blessed the coach during Phelps’ cancer-fighting process.

Phelps found Hesburgh celebrating Mass at Holy Cross House. It was Hesburgh’s words to Phelps early in spring — “Have the courage” — that helped Phelps in his fight. He fought, in part, because he had previously beaten cancer.

It’s great to hear that coach Phelps has been given a clean bill of health (he’ll undergo “maintenance” treatments every three months for the next two years), and he’ll once again be on television waving his hi-liter this winter.

College basketball has been used as a platform in the fight to find a cure for cancer, with ventures such as the Jimmy V Foundation and Coaches vs. Cancer being the most prominent.

h/t Eye on College Basketball

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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