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.
Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause
Andrew Stull made a strong bid to stay in the Rose-Hulman baseball starting pitching rotation Friday evening, but his lack of support — offensively and defensively — still added up to a 7-0 loss as the Engineers opened the Rose-Hulman Invitational against Concordia Chicago.
Metro Sports: ISU baseball’s winning streak halted at 12
The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks scored on a walk-off single in the ninth inning to end Indiana State’s 12-game winning streak in baseball with a 3-2 victory Friday at Brooks Field.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year
Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.
Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida
Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title
Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
Rose coach still ‘hanging around’
Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.
Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title
Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.
Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph
Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title
Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.
Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance
Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).
Streaking Engineers return to national poll
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team has earned a national ranking for the first time this season, reaching the No. 24 spot in the d3hoops.com national top 25 poll released Monday.
Metro Roundup: Rose-Hulman's Montgomery wins HCAC award again
Rose-Hulman’s Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week for the third time this season after a historic performance on Friday.
Shaw wins 300th for first-place Engineers
Rose-Hulman’s Jim Shaw became the second men's basketball coach in program history to win 300 career games as the Fightin' Engineers rallied to defeat Bluffton University 61-55 on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman outscored Bluffton 39-15 in the second half to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit and improve to 19-4 on the season. The Engineers are also 14-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and maintain a one-game lead over Defiance in the conference standings. Rose-Hulman needs one win in its last two games to secure hosting rights for the HCAC Tournament.
Rose’s Jim Shaw nearing 300 victories
Rose-Hulman hits the road for Bluffton and a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball matchup at 3 p.m. today.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman's Strickland earns national D-III honor
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been named to the d3hoops.com National Team of the Week for his efforts in last week’s two men’s basketball victories.
Strickland, other Rose seniors play final home game tonight
Rose-Hulman will play host to Hanover in Senior Night men’s basketball at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
The Engineers lead Defiance by one game and Hanover by two in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings entering their final regular-season home game.
Metro roundup: Sycamores, UNI to be national ESPNU game
Indiana State’s final men’s home game of the college basketball season has been chosen for ESPNU’s 1 p.m. telecast on March 1. It’s Senior Day for the Sycamores.
Strickland erupts for 41 in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland scored a career-high 41 points to help lift the Engineers past Manchester 85-65 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday afternoon.
Strickland recorded the eighth 40-point game in the history of Rose men’s basketball in the contest. His effort joins Don Ings (four times from 1967-70), Bryan Egli (twice in 1999) and Ed Downey (once in 1963-64) as 40-point games on the list.
Rose Hulman’s Schultheis repeats as Athlete of the Week
Rose-Hulman’s Austin Schultheis has been named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week for a second consecutive time.
Sole possession of first place in HCAC belongs to Shaw’s Engineers
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team took its first lead in more than 23 minutes with 1:23 left on the clock and then shut down the Defiance offense to clinch a 58-54 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers (14-4, 10-2 HCAC) took over sole possession of first place in the conference with the win over the Yellow Jackets (9-3, 14-5), who entered the contest tied with Rose.
Freshmen lead Rose women to HCAC victory
Sparked by breakout performances from a pair of freshmen, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team held on to defeat Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance 69-59 Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Six-foot-2 forward Josie Schmidt was two shy of her career high with a game-high 17 points. She added five rebounds and a block in an 8-for-14 performance from the field. Classmate Abbie Marshall had one of her best games of the season, totaling a career-best 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with seven boards, five assists and four steals.
- More Rose-Hulman Headlines
- Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause