HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Southern Miss women’s basketball head coach Joyce Lee-McNelis is remaining strong following the diagnosis that her stage 4 lung cancer has recurred.

McNelis is entering her 20th-year at the helm of the Lady Eagles, and she has no plans on taking a backseat.

“I am truly blessed to have my family and many prayer warriors that have impacted my life in a great way I believe that with God’s help and His gifts of strength, that I can push through and be an example for many others. It is important to me to demonstrate to my players that life is going to throw us curve balls sometimes, but you’ve always got to show up and hit them. After my diagnosis, I had a conversation with our team and promised them that I would not sell them short and that I plan to be with them every step of the way in the same way they are with me,” she said.

McNelis has undergone the first of four treatment cycles. Her next treatment is scheduled for October 11, and all four treatments are being done in Hattiesburg at the Forrest Health Cancer Center.

The remaining treatments are expected to run through late November.

This is Coach McNelis’ third battle with this same cancer after doctors originally discovered it in 2017, which ended with the removal of her lungs’ upper left lobe. The same adenocarcinoma recurred in 2020, this time in the pleura surface of her left lung.

McNelis has partnered with the Hospital Patient Navigation Program at Forrest General Hospital to provide assistance to other cancer patients in need. For more information, click here and select the Coach McNelis Fund from the dropdown menu.

Southern Miss will also host its annual Lung Cancer Awareness game against Ole Miss on Saturday, December 2, 2023, to raise awareness and funds for lung cancer patients and the Navigation Program.