Illness sends Ayers back to Lady Bulldog bench
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
Gleason girls’ basketball team will have to continue their run through District 13A without head coach Joel Ayers until he is able to return from having surgery last week in Jackson.
Ayers reportedly had nearly a foot of his colon removed because of diverticulitis, a condition that affects the lower intestine.
He spent 10 days in the hospital in December for treatment after he had a flare-up of the disease. Doctors treated Ayers with antibiotics, and he returned to coaching shortly after he was released.
Gleason athletic director Lee Lawrence said Ayers had another flare-up on Monday of last week at school and was admitted to the hospital shortly thereafter with severe pain in his lower abdomen.
“He had a bad flare-up on Monday at school with a lot of pain,” Lawrence said. “He had the surgery done, and the surgeon removed more of his colon than he thought he was going to have to remove.”
Lawrence said Ayers lost quite a bit of weight after his December flare-up because he could not eat anything for a week after his initial treatment.
Lawrence believed Ayers could be discharged from the hospital today. He said he is responding well to the recovery, but Lawrence does not expect him to be back coaching anytime soon.
“He will have to take it easy for a while and not jump back into the job too fast,” Lawrence said. “He may not be able to return to coaching this season. We will just have to wait and see how his recovery process goes.”
Ayers’ wife, Ashley, will be taking over the head coaching duties until he is able to return. She is pregnant and the due date is within the first two weeks of March.
The Lady Bulldogs may have to be coached by assistant coach Chris Leo depending upon how deep they go in the postseason and if Ayers is able to return to coaching by the time the baby is due.
“Ashley will be coaching this week, barring any setbacks,” Lawrence said. “She is due to have their baby in early March, so we may have a dilemma on our hands. Coach Leo filled in for us on Friday night, and he may have to do it some more later this season. The girls have responded and played well with having three different coaches this season.”
The Lady Bulldogs are sitting on top of District 13A with a 9-1 record and 15-4 overall. Published in The WCP 1.22.13