Sylvia Hatchell still watches practice. The school has a satellite link that feeds to her iPad.
She still gives the post-game talks. Two minutes after the Lady Heels beat South Carolina on Sunday, she was on speaker phone in the locker room.
The player text her photos from the road. She says she works two to five hours every day, a lot of which is with Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder, who's been in charge since Hatchell took a step back the year to undergo treatment for Leukemia.
Now, with the UNC women's basketball team reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, they're one win away from having Hatchell back on the road with them and, potentially, three wins from having her back for good.
Coach Hatchell asked her doctor if she could head to Nashville "when" the team makes it to the final four.
"He looked at me and said, 'That's doable,'" Hatchell said in an interview. "To me, 'doable' means I'm going to Nashville. And he says he'll have me 100-percent ready for next year... I'm doing really, really good."
She says she's in complete molecular remission. She's just building her immune system back up.
But the team's success in her absence isn't lost on her. She jokes about coming back full-time.
"I just don't want to mess them up," she said, laughing. She doesn't think much will change next year. Except that one of the youngest teams in the country, with as many as four freshman on the court at one time, will be a year older, with a nice NCAA Tournament run under their belt.
The UNC Tar Heels face off against Stanford tonight at 9pm.