Glenville basketball coach in hospital battling cancer while team competes in tournament

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Longtime Glenville High School Head Basketball Coach Michael Holt revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Known for his fierce loyalty to his players, past and present, Coach Holt has led the Tarblooders for the past 20 years. He is also known for his grace under pressure, but nothing prepared him for the news that doctors at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center gave him two weeks ago.

After dealing with a series of medical issues in recent years, the coach was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a cancer that starts in the bone marrow and often moves into the blood and spreads to other parts of the body.

Speaking with Fox 8 at the Seidman Center, Coach Holt said “I’m sick and I’m going to get well, but just to say ‘you have cancer,’ that’s not my mindset. I’m sick and I’m going to get well.”

Coach Holt has turned over the coaching reins to his assistants as he now faces intensive treatment that will include chemotherapy.

“You can’t start thinking ‘what ifs and I’ve got to get this done.’ I don’t have to get anything done. The thing I have to get done is to do what the doctors say, take the chemo and come out cancer-free and that’s what is going to happen,” he said.

Coach Holt says he initially decided not to share the diagnosis publicly, but recently changed his mind, in the hope that his battle will serve as an inspiration to those around him.

“There’s no dress rehearsal in life, you can’t say ‘I want to do a do-over. You’ve got to win,'” he said.

The Glenville Tarblooders are now playing their best basketball of the season and on Thursday, will play in the district semi-finals, perhaps motivated by the words of their coach and his personal battle.

“You’ve got to come out swinging in life and don’t stop until it’s over,” he said. “It’s temporary and it’s going to be the greatest comeback story ever.”

The coach says he will be there in spirit when his Tarblooders play Lake Catholic High School on Thursday night.

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