Earlier in the month, Notre Dame announced that offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock would miss the first few weeks of preseason camp after undergoing an undisclosed medical procedure. Tuesday it was revealed that Denbrock, in his first year as Notre Dame’s OC, has prostate cancer.
The cancer was discovered in June after a blood test showed “very elevated” levels of prostate-specific-antigen. Surgery was scheduled soon after and caused him to miss the beginning of camp, but at media day Tuesday, Denbrock said he is feeling much better, though not quite at 100 percent.
Understandably, he’s had to scale back his work load some as the recovery process continues, but he said that he is “feeling stronger every day.”
“I’m not going to say how much I’ve been involved in what’s been going on (with the team), because my wife and my doctor will probably hunt me down and get after me,” Denbrock said, per the South Bend Tribune. “But I’ve been able to do more than I anticipated I would to this point.”
Denbrock, who was back on the practice field Tuesday, said he’s been overwhelmed by the support from the university throughout this ordeal.
“The people who love Notre Dame football and follow Notre Dame football, the messages that they’ve sent me, the things that they’ve set me, the encouragement they’ve sent me, have absolutely done nothing but help get me back on my feet and moving again,” he said.
Denbrock is the second member of the Notre Dame coaching staff to face a cancer diagnosis recently. Former Fighting Irish safety and current graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy was also back on the practice field Tuesday “after having undergone four chemotherapy treatments.”
Head coach Brian Kelly said that McCarthy expects to be on field throughout his treatments, but the program has “made accommodations for him if he needs to be off the field.”
“He’s an incredible young man,” Kelly said. “Some people obviously don’t take very well to those treatments. He was on the field coaching the safeties like it was his first day of practice.”
McCarthy said his form of cancer is “very treatable” in a statement last week.
Meanwhile, Denbrock is back at it – installing Notre Dame’s new up-tempo offense. He likes what he sees from the unit and quarterback Everett Golson thus far, but above everything, he’s just happy to be back on the field, preparing for the season opener against Rice on August 30.
“It’s great to be here,” he said.
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