MARK HATCHER tried to ease his way back following surgery for kidney cancer. He really did.
But once a coach, always a coach, it seems.
Hatcher, Logan's longtime boys basketball coach, had about 20 percent of his right kidney removed at the Cleveland Clinic in late May, and has since followed the recommendations concerning his recovery.
Well, most of them, anyway.
Just one week after the surgery and bearing a 10-inch scar, he participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life at the Logan High football field - taking one lap around the track as a cancer survivor.
"That was tough,'' Hatcher said.
A week after that, Hatcher held his annual youth basketball camp for 85 children ages 4-13 at the Logan Field House, as well as the middle school and grade school gyms. Then he followed the progress of his own Logan High team during the three-week approved summer practice period, first for a couple games at St. Albans, then to Marshall.
For the most part, Hatcher behaved himself.
"At the basketball camp, I sort of had to yell for the kids to get on their teams,'' Hatcher said, "and just yelling, it hurt a little bit. I had to rest after that. It probably wasn't the smartest thing going to the camp, but it's been my camp for 12 years and I've been doing it for 20 years now, so I felt like I had to be there.''
Kevin Gertz, the girls basketball coach at Logan and a buddy of Hatcher's, said it didn't take long for Hatcher to go a little too far during the three-week practice period.
"He actually tried to coach a game,'' Gertz said, "but he blew his stack like he always does, and he had to stop.''
At Marshall, Hatcher scaled it back some, sitting in the stands and watching his team play, talking with friends and acquaintances.
"It was difficult,'' Hatcher said of watching instead of coaching. "I was under strict orders from my family not to scream. I talked a lot with friends, fans and even fans of the other teams. We talked about the surgery and stuff like that, and talked basketball. I got the chance to sit back and talk to a lot of buddies, referees and coaching buddies.''
Hatcher heaped praise upon his assistant coaches - Rodney Campbell, Brad Napier, Jerry Greene and Wes Hatcher - for keeping things in order during the three-week period.