PROVO — If coach Dave Rose has his way, he’ll be leading the BYU basketball team for a long, long time — as long as he is healthy.
“I know exactly how long I want to coach,” Rose said recently. “I want to coach as long as I feel really good doing it.”
It’s been nearly five years since doctors diagnosed Rose with a rare form of pancreatic cancer.
In June 2009, Rose underwent emergency surgery at a Las Vegas hospital to stop internal bleeding and his spleen and a portion of his pancreas were removed.
Days later, the Rose family announced that lab results from the surgery indicated that he had tested positive for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cancer. Fortunately, doctors were able to treat Rose and he was back coaching the Cougars that season.
Every six months, Rose receives a scan to monitor the disease. Last August, doctors discovered a cancerous tumor about the size of half a peanut, as well as other cancerous spots.
While Rose said he is “feeling really good” now, he admitted that the most recent surgery sapped him of energy at the start of the season.
“That process of recovering from surgery was a little bit more difficult than I thought,” Rose said. “Once we got to the first of December, I felt really strong and healthy. I’ve felt that way ever since.”
Another scan is coming up this summer.
“I’ll go again in June and see if I can get another six months,” Rose said. “There’s not a day that goes by where it doesn’t enter your mind. But it gets pretty serious the week of the scans. Now that we’ve been through it, knowing that if there is a procedure that needs to be performed, there is some flexibility in there time-wise.”
Rose said he felt healthy before going in for the scan last August.
“It’s all based on the MRI. I knew there were a couple of spots they were monitoring. I know a lot more about myself than I did five years ago. There’s a lot they can do with early detection and a history of scans. The whole key for me is, the type of cancer that I have is a slow-growing, non-aggressive tumor. That’s what allows me to be able to have the prognosis that I have.”
Rose, who became BYU's head coach in 2005, has two years remaining on the five-year contract he signed in 2011 — not long after guiding the Cougars to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1981.
Rose loves his job, and he wants to continue coaching BYU as long as he stays healthy.
“I love the challenge,” he said. “I love working with my staff and the players are what make it the best. They’re great to work with. You can challenge them and they respond. It may not always be exactly the outcome that you want, but you can tell that the guys are committed to each other, to our program and our university. That’s a good feeling.”