Daily Sports Smile: NCAA teams support Georgia Tech's Tasha Butts amid breast cancer diagnosis

Mar 23, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; View of a basketball with the March Madness logo before the game between the Baylor Bears and the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jaylon Thompson
USA TODAY Sports+

The NCAA community has rallied behind Georgia Tech women’s basketball associate head coach Tasha Butts as she battles an advanced stage of breast cancer. Butts announced her cancer diagnosis in December via the team’s official website.

“This has not been an easy discovery,” Butts said in her statement. “At age 39, I never thought I’d be sitting here dealing with this disease. But I have full confidence in my doctors, my faith, who I am and who I was taught to be, which is a fighter. I want to, and hope to be, an example and an inspiration for others who may be experiencing the same thing.”

Several NCAA teams have offered their support. There is a special social hashtag, “TashaTough” that is making rounds on multiple platforms. This week, the teams displayed a heartwarming special video message to Butts.

Georgia Tech also created “Tasha Tough” t-shirts to show support as well. The pink shirts were available for fans at a recent game.

Butts starred at Tennessee in her collegiate career. She later played in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx, Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets.

FILE - LSU's Theresa Plaisance (55) walks past as assistant coach Tasha Butts celebrates the team's win over Kentucky with guard Jeanne Kenney after an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 24, 2013. Butts, now Georgia Tech associate head coach, said Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, she has been diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer. The 39-year-old Butts said she was diagnosed last month. She intends to keep coaching as much as possible while she's being treated. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

She joined Georgia Tech in 2019 as an assistant coach. Last season, Butts was promoted to her current role as associate head coach.

In her tenure, Butts has helped several develop their basketball skills. Multiple players have grown exponentially during her stops at Duquesne, UCLA and LSU among others.

“We were all shocked with Tasha’s diagnosis, but the positive is she is in a fantastic city with doctors extremely qualified to treat her,” Georgia Tech head coach Nell Fortner said in December. “Tasha has been instrumental in our success over these past two and a half seasons.

“She is surrounded by a Georgia Tech community that will support her and a team that will love her through this. Tasha is a strong woman who has every intention of beating this diagnosis, and we will be with her every step of the way.”