TERRE HAUTE —
For the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team, bald is beautiful.
That’s because Jon Prevo, beginning his sixth season as its head coach after serving 12 seasons as a men’s basketball assistant at the engineering institute, has watched hair fall off the top of his head from cancer-related chemotherapy treatments since May.
Prevo, 51, first noticed discomfort in his upper esophagus and upper abdominal region in late April. At first, his family doctor — Mark Schuld — thought he might have acid reflux disease.
But when Prevo started vomiting later that week, drastic action became necessary.
“I thought it was something that might go away on its own,” he told the Tribune-Star. “But when the vomiting started, I got sick real quick. . . I had lost 11 pounds in about four days.”
His wife Deanna suggested he check into the Union Hospital emergency room that weekend. Heart problems were ruled out, then he received IV fluids and started to feel better.
Schuld ordered new tests the next day. Results of an upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam revealed there was a cancerous mass in Prevo’s stomach.
“The tumor had gotten so large that nothing could pass through my stomach and anything I took by mouth had to go somewhere,” Prevo explained over the weekend. “It was about the size of a football.”
At the time, Schuld told Prevo: “I need to put you in the hospital immediately.”
Prevo recalled Schuld saying the tumor could be a treatable type or it could be an untreatable type that requires immediate surgery to remove it.
Prevo was transferred to Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, where doctors inserted a feeding tube so he could receive nutrition. By early May, the 6-foot-4 Prevo had lost 15-16 pounds.
“For over three weeks, I couldn’t take anything by mouth,” he pointed out.
On May 19, Prevo and his family received the final diagnosis — Burkitt’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer.
“We were caught off guard and really shocked,” reflected Prevo, who had no prior history with cancer.
“But with the kind of cancer I had, the best-case scenario was that it’s treatable… They started me on chemotherapy that night.”
His chemo treatments lasted four days and occurred every three weeks. He underwent a total of eight treatments.
By mid-May, Rose-Hulman players knew only that Prevo had been sick in the hospital, but they didn’t know why. So before most of them left Terre Haute for the summer, he invited them to his home in Riley, where Deanna and Rose women’s assistant coach Kevin Robinson helped give them the news.
“My wife reiterated to all the girls that my expectations for them had not changed and that I would be fine,” Prevo noted.
Among those feeling the saddest was senior forward Alisa Dickerson, who appreciated Prevo helping her deal with tough times off the basketball court.
“My mom had cancer the first three years of my college career,” she explained. “It was a serious situation.”
So learning that Prevo also had cancer was almost more than Dickerson could take.
“It hits you pretty hard,” she said. “It was one of those ‘here we go again’ things.”
‘A blessing to see him on the court’
Over time, Prevo started seeing light at the end of the tunnel, even if he couldn’t see hair on top of his head.
The chemo had shrunk the tumor in his stomach, so Prevo was gradually able to take liquids and soft food orally again. Then he advanced to solid food, which proved the chemo treatments were working.
Fortunately for the Prevos, no surgeries would be needed.
Last Thursday, Prevo received word from one of his doctors that his latest CT scan came back clean and he would no longer receive treatments.
He informed his players at practice Thursday night.
“They were very happy for me,” Prevo said as his voice cracked. “It was an emotional time for me, sharing that with them.”
“There were hugs and tears,” Dickerson mentioned.
Now cancer free, Prevo must schedule follow-up appointments with his doctors. But for the most part, the Prevo family believes the worst is over. In addition to his wife, Prevo has a 16-year-old son, Nicholas, and one stepson, Sean Leitgabel.
“My stamina and endurance are not anywhere near where they were before I got sick,” Prevo admitted, although he hopes to be back to normal in another four to six months.
He’s back up to 230 pounds, about 15 pounds less than his pre-cancer weight.
Also worth noting, this wasn’t the first time that the Prevos endured a cancer scare. Deanna previously battled breast cancer.
“One of the biggest sources of motivation for me during my treatments was my wife having breast cancer,” Jon Prevo acknowledged. “It’s been eight years [last week] since she first started her chemotherapy. . . and she has beaten it. She’s been cancer free for six years.”
Remembering her strength during that time, even though hers was a different type of cancer, gave him the strength to proclaim: “I can fight this too.”
The grateful Prevo also praised Robinson and new Rose-Hulman women’s assistant Molly Martin for filling in on coaching responsibilities when he couldn’t.
Now Prevo considers coaching the Engineers part of his therapy.
“The game of basketball has helped with my recovery,” he said, “along with my family and friends.”
Others involved in Wabash Valley basketball are glad to see him back in action.
“The blessing is that Jon Prevo is able to coach still — with the health issues he’s had to deal with,” St. Mary-of-the-Woods College coach Deanna Bradley emphasized after her Pomeroys defeated Rose last week in Hulbert Arena.
“It is just a blessing to see him on the court. It was great to see him. You know what, when things like that hit you in life, basketball is just a game. That’s all it is.”
With Prevo much healthier than he was seven months ago, Rose-Hulman will play a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game tonight at Manchester.
Who loves ya, baby?
On the lighter side, Prevo admits that some of his longtime acquaintances have trouble recognizing him with a bald head and no beard.
“It’ll eventually come back,” he said of his hair.
Prevo is not sure if he wants to continue with the bare look on top, thinking he might resemble the late Telly Savalas, an old-school reference totally lost on his young players.
“I think I’ll initially let it grow back and see how it looks,” he concluded.
TERRE HAUTE —
For the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team, bald is beautiful.
Strong defensive effort keys RHIT victory
Rose-Hulman placed three players in double figures and relied on a strong defensive effort to top Millikin 64-55 in men’s college basketball action Monday night.
Metro: Indiana Hall of Fame lauds two Wabash Valley athletes
Two players from the Wabash Valley have been named members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team that will be honored in March. Tony McGee and Kenny Rowan are members of the honor team.
Despite Strickland’s 26, Rose men lose in basketball
Rose-Hulman rimmed out a potential game-tying 3-point shot in the final seconds, as Transylvania held on to top the Engineers 62-59 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday.
Following a Transylvania foul with 2.2 seconds remaining, Rose freshman Collin Wojcik rimmed out a shot that could have forced overtime. Tommy Sirkin grabbed the rebound to secure the Transylvania victory.
Senior Julian Strickland led all scorers with 26 points, including nine points in the final three minutes to get the Engineers within striking distance.
Freshman Belyea top scorer for Rose women
Defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball regular-season champion Transylvania showed its strength with an 85-42 victory over Rose-Hulman in the league opener Saturday.
Madisen Webb led four Pioneers in double figures with 18 points. Katelyn Smith added 16 points, Nicole Coffman scored 13 and Alex McKenzie contributed 11 points for a balanced Transylvania attack.
Young gun: Freshman Belyea leads Engineers to second straight victory over Saint Mary-of-the Woods
Freshman women’s college basketball players sparked Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and Rose-Hulman on Wednesday in Hulbert Arena. Playing her first major minutes of the season, Rose-Hulman guard Kristen Belyea was the clutch shooter for the Engineers. In the second half, Belyea knocked down 4 of 6 from the field and 2 of 3 from the 3-point arc to help the Engineers earn a second straight victory in the rivalry with a 74-54 decision.
Strickland leads RHIT men to win
Rose-Hulman opened its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball season with a 66-50 victory at Anderson University on Wednesday.
Metro: Boys county title games set for tonight
A pair of championship games in the Vigo County middle school boys basketball tournament will be played today in West Vigo High School’s main gym. At 6 p.m., Woodrow Wilson will take on Sarah Scott for the sixth-grade title. Then at about 7:30, Wilson and Honey Creek will tangle for the seventh-grade crown.
Red-hot Strickland leads Engineers past Wabash 77-68
Julian Strickland tied his career-high point total with 31 Monday night — his third consecutive 30-point game this season — as host Rose-Hulman downed Wabash 77-68 in Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman women fall short to Marian
A clutch 3-pointer and free throws down the stretch sealed the home victory for Marian University in Saturday’s competitive 50-45 nonconference victory over the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team.
Strickland pours in 30, but the Engineers fall in home opener
Carroll University withstood a last-minute challenge by Rose-Hulman to earn a 67-64 men’s basketball victory in the Engineers’ home opener Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Rose men’s soccer ends best season ever in Sweet 16 loss
The best season in Rose-Hulman men’s soccer history came to an end Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to Franklin & Marshall in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Strickland leads Rose over Chicago in men's basketball
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland fired in a career-high 31 points to lead the Engineers past the University of Chicago 85-80 in men’s college basketball Saturday night.
Strickland finished 11 of 19 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line with eight rebounds and five assists to lead the performance. He previously scored 30 points in the 2012 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament title game victory over Transylvania that launched the Engineers into the NCAA tournament.
Rose's dream soccer season ends with 3-0 loss to Franklin & Marshall
The best season in Rose-Hulman men’s soccer history came to an end with a 3-0 loss to Franklin & Marshall in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Franklin and Marshall standout Ben Beaver scored once in each half to provide the offense, and goalkeeper T.J. White recorded a shutout to lead the defensive effort for the Diplomats.
Rose-Hulman men's basketball to begin 20th season under Shaw
Armed with one of the top NCAA Division III players in the nation in senior Julian Strickland, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team will begin its 20th straight season under the guidance of coach Jim Shaw tonight at Washington (St. Louis) University.
Tipoff for the Lopata Classic first-round matchup is slated for 9 o’clock EST.
“They’re one of the top [Division III] teams in the country,” Shaw said of the Bears’ program commonly known as Wash. U. “They’re really good every year and they’ll be really good this year.”
Rose-Hulman’s Montgomery seeking All-American in Division III
Rose-Hulman has a cross country runner in the NCAA Division III championships for the sixth time in the history of the men’s or women’s programs.
Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery is the second woman to qualify for the Engineers. The Lafayette, La., native will race for All-America status Saturday at Hanover in the women’s 6K race.
Rose-Hulman's Hong honored by NCAA Division III
Rose-Hulman freshman Ellie Hong has been named the Collegeswimming.com NCAA Division III Women’s Swimmer of the Week.
In a dual meet against Franklin, she broke the school record in the 100 freestyle (54.18 seconds) by nearly a second and won the 100 backstroke in 59.13.
Rose-Hulman’s Smyser is still embracing clutch goal
When sophomore Mike Smyser guided the ball into the net during the opening minutes of the Rose-Hulman men’s soccer match against undefeated, NCAA Division III No. 1-ranked Ohio Wesleyan on Sunday in Delaware, Ohio, he had no idea it would be the only goal of a hard-fought match.
Rose soccer scores biggest win in its history, ousting No. 1 in Division III tourney
Mike Smyser scored in the first five minutes Sunday, and the Rose-Hulman defense took care of the rest as the Engineers upset top-ranked, unbeaten Ohio Wesleyan 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament.
METRO/PREP ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman football seeks first conference title since 1988
Rose-Hulman looks to earn its first football conference championship since 1988 in Saturday’s Battle of the Borders Broadsword matchup at Earlham. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men's soccer advances to title game
Rose-Hulman advanced to the championship game of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament with a 3-0 victory over Hanover College on Tuesday night.
The second-seeded FEngineers will host Transylvania University, who upset No. 1 seed Earlham College earlier Tuesday. Transylvania and Earlham played to a 1-1 draw, before Transylvania advanced with a 4-2 victory in penalty kicks.
No. 12 Franklin visits Rose in HCAC showdown
Missing one of its best players, Rose-Hulman’s football team will play host to NCAA Division III No. 12-ranked Franklin in a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action at 1:30 p.m. today at Cook Stadium.
Rose men’s basketball team 20th in preseason rankings
DIII News has ranked Rose-Hulman at No. 20 nationally in its preseason men’s basketball poll and senior Julian Strickland earned “Top 24” honors from the organization Wednesday.
Rose-Hulman adds six to its Athletic Hall of Fame
Matt Smith and Andrew Schipper hadn’t seen each other in about 10 years until they crossed paths Saturday.
This wasn’t a surprise meeting because they knew they were reuniting for a common reason.
Both 2003 Rose-Hulman graduates were among six new inductees going into the engineering institute’s Athletic Hall of Fame over the weekend.
Despite firing off 36 shots, Rose-Hulman and Woods soccer teams battle to 0-0 tie
There was good reason to believe the Rose-Hulman and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods women’s soccer teams were an even match before they took the field Tuesday afternoon.
The Engineers entered at 4-2-3 and the host Pomeroys were 3-3.
Well, after 110 minutes — 90 minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute overtimes — proof exists that the teams are truly equal.
They played to a scoreless tie.
Rose-Hulman pulls out homecoming victory with huge third quarter
In the first, second and fourth quarters of Saturday afternoon’s homecoming game at Cook Stadium, the Rose-Hulman offense played like the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, frequently plodding through three-and-outs and fumbling away the football.
Thankfully for the Engineers and their enthusiastic supporters, the Rose offense more closely resembled the Denver Broncos in the third quarter, exploding for three touchdowns that were desperately needed to secure a 23-19 triumph over Defiance in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for both squads.
Rose-Hulman women’s soccer shuts out Greenville
Rose-Hulman scored once in the first half and twice in the second to earn a 3-0 shutout victory over Greenville College in women's soccer action on Wednesday at the Intramural Field.
Senior Rachel Johnstone put the Engineers on the board in the 34th minute, on a breakaway goal started by an assist from junior Haley O’Neil.
Rose-Hulman football drops opener at Kalamazoo
Big plays in the second half proved to be too much to overcome for the Rose-Hulman football team, as the Engineers fell on the road to Kalamazoo 28-23 on Saturday at Angell Field.
Quarterback Ryan Landwehr led the Rose-Hulman offense, completing 19 of 34 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the Engineers’ top rusher, finishing with 62 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Short move: New R-H coach didn’t even have to leave home to take ‘attractive deal’
In the case of many college coaches, when they leave one school to take a job at another, they have to pack up their belongings and move to a new home. Not so with Geoff Wayton, who left Indiana State to become head coach for the NCAA Division III Rose-Hulman men’s and women’s cross country team and an assistant to Larry Cole for its men’s and women’s track and field program. Wayton’s hiring was announced Aug. 12.
Hannahs adds Ronnie Prettyman to ISU baseball staff
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs has announced that Ronnie Prettyman will join his staff as an assistant coach, starting with the 2013-2014 season.
METRO RONUDUP: Rose-Hulman picked 5th in HCAC football poll
The Rose-Hulman football has been selected to finish fifth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, in a preseason poll of league coaches released Wednesday.
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- Strong defensive effort keys RHIT victory