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Patterson Takes Leave for Medical Treatment

July 16, 2008

By Jim Ecker, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Jul. 16–from his job this summer and early fall while he receives treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for tonsillar cancer.

Patterson, 57, spent 20 years as an assistant coach at Iowa from 1979 through 1998 under Hayden Fry, helping the Hawkeyes compile a 143-89-6 record with 14 bowl games and three Big Ten titles.

Patterson began two days of medical tests at the UI hospital on Monday and is scheduled to begin seven weeks of radiation treatment and chemotherapy as an outpatient on July 28. He is expected to miss all of preseason training camp and several games at Western Illinois.

Mark Hendrickson will serve as WIU’s acting head coach while Patterson undergoes treatment. Doctors have told Patterson there is a “very high” success rate of treating this type of cancer, according to Hendrickson.

“He’s doing fine,” Hendrickson said Tuesday morning. “The doctors are very optimis tic, as is Donny.” Hendrickson said the cancer was detected four or five weeks ago.

“I really feel like I am going to receive the best possible care,” Patterson said in a news release. “And on top of that, I have been told that I am really the ideal patient because of my health and lifestyle.” Patterson is entering his 10th year with the Leathernecks.

“I expect out of myself the same things that I expect out of my players,” he said. “I am going to be very coachable, doing exactly what my doctors tell me to do, and I am going to be mentally tough. I will maintain the same positive attitude toward this that I have always had throughout my life.” Patterson has compiled a 61-42 record in nine years at Western Illinois, with two Gateway Conference titles.

“Doctors have communicated to him a very high success rate, so we expect a full recovery and we wish him the very best,” said Dr. Tim Van Alstine, WIU’s director of athletics.

— Contact the writer: (319) 3688697 or jim.ecker@gazcomm.com

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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