Special Report: Skin Cancer & Coaching

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Skin cancer can kill. Former Southern Illinois Head Coach Dan Callahan lost his life battling neurotropic melanoma skin cancer in 2010.

Gonzaga associate head baseball coach Danny Evans died last April at the age of 41 from stage 4 melanoma cancer.

Head Coach Paul Keyes of Virginia Commonwealth also died of skin cancer in 2012.

Florida Gulf Coast University baseball coach Dave Tollett received a big scare after a biopsy was performed on a large bump near his right nostril in 2012.

The biopsy revealed basil cell carcinoma. Tollett had the tumor removed and endured 15 stitches.

Over the years, thousands of veteran coaches have suffered serious skin damage and even died from being in the sun an insane number of hours over a lifetime as a coach.

Louisville Head Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell estimates that he has spent 45,000 hours in the sun during his 30-year coaching career.

Collegiate Baseball estimates that the typical college coach has played baseball from the age of 8-21 and has spent an additional 8,100 hours in the sun. 

When you add it up, veteran coaches with 30 years of experience have spent approximately 53,000 hours in the sun when adding their playing days to the number of years they have coached.

No wonder the skin of veteran coaches in outdoor sports looks leathery and damaged.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

Consider these important facts:

  • According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than two people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour while more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.
  • More than 5,400 people worldwide die of non-melanoma skin cancer every month.
  • An estimated 197,700 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2022. An estimated 7,650 people will die of melanoma in 2022.
  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
  • Regular outdoor use of an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
  • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.
  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by the age of 18.
  • All skin cancers – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma – are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The more years you are involved in the game of baseball, the greater the risk of skin cancer.

Since Collegiate Baseball was started in 1958, we have come in contact with thousands of veteran baseball coaches who have sustained serious skin damage since they work in the sun countless hours each year.

Of those, many have had cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions taken off their arms, face, neck and other body parts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen, surgically cutting out cancerous tissue, utilizing radiation or chemotherapy and also destroying skin cancer cells with a combination of laser light and drugs (see below for entire treatments).

In short, it can be hell going through such treatment.

Treat options for skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin lesions vary, depending on the size, type, depth and location of the lesions.

To read more of this story, purchase the Sept. 2, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The Sept. 2 edition includes three stories on the subject of Skin Cancer & Coaching. It includes the main report, a special feature about the University of Louisville’s Dan McDonnell and his skin protection advice after spending 45,000 hours in the sun over 30 years of coaching. In addition, we include a special question and answer session with one of the top dermatologists in the nation in Dr. Susan Chon of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Tex. who explains how to battle the sun with important tips, including clothing, protective sleeves and hats.