Georgia Tech women’s basketball associate head coach Tasha Butts has helped many student-athletes reach their potential over the years. Now, her team is returning the favor and gathering around her as she fights breast cancer.

In a news release from Georgia Tech in early December, Butts announced that she had been diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer. The former Minnesota Lynx player said it was a difficult discovery and that she never thought she’d be dealing with this disease at the age of 39. However, she’s grateful for those around her, including her community at the university.

She said, “While I am still processing this life-changing diagnosis and learning how to deal with it day-to-day, I have full confidence in my team of doctors with the treatment plan they have put forth and that I have already begun. The tremendous amount of support I have received from my family, close friends, and Georgia Tech family has made these past few weeks a little more bearable and easier.”

Butts was hired on as a coach in 2019 after spending eight years on Louisiana State University’s staff. Her long coaching career came after a season with the Lynx, brief stints with the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets, and a successful college career at the University of Tennessee, where she was a four-year letterwinner and helped the Lady Vols advance to the Sweet Sixteen in each of her seasons there. They also appeared in the national championship her junior and senior years.

Butts will continue to coach throughout treatment as she’s able, with women’s basketball chief of staff Mickie DeMoss filling in when she can’t make it.

The coaching staff is glad she’ll still be able to help lead the team and is standing behind her.

Head coach Nell Fortner says, “We were all shocked with Tasha’s diagnosis, but the positive is she is in a fantastic city with doctors extremely qualified to treat her. Tasha has been instrumental in our success over these past two and a half seasons. She is surrounded by a Georgia Tech community that will support her and a team that will love her through this. Tasha is a strong woman who has every intention of beating this diagnosis, and we will be with her every step of the way.”

Butts has felt the love and encouragement from the basketball community, posting on Instagram that many people had reached out and even started the hashtags #TashaStrong and #TashaTough. She said it’s not in her DNA to give up and they’d all better believe that she’ll be fighting.

She also stresses the importance of being on top of your health, explaining, “Through my process, I have learned that early detection is the best possible approach. I strongly encourage everyone to be fully aware of any symptoms or red flags they may experience, and go see a doctor. Early detection can offer someone a peace of mind in such a life-changing event.”

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