Buzard hopes to return to bench this year

Updated: July 29, 2004, 11:56 AM ET
Associated Press

PORTALES, N.M. -- Eastern New Mexico University women's basketball coach Dan Buzard has undergone surgery for a brain tumor.

Buzard, 36, became ill Sunday while visiting relatives in Albuquerque and underwent surgery at an Albuquerque hospital Monday after tests showed a brain tumor of about eight centimeters, said his wife, Jennifer.

She said her husband had "a small seizure" in September and had suffered headaches off and on since, along with occasional periods of vomiting in recent months.

Additional surgery was slated for Thursday, she said.

Jennifer Buzard said her husband will spend up to three weeks in the hospital, but could return to coaching this coming season if things go well.

ENMU athletic director Mike Maguire said he talked to Buzard by telephone Wednesday and Buzard seemed to be in good spirits. "He said he had a rough night (Tuesday), but he was feeling OK," Maguire said.

Women's assistant coach Dustin Klafka said he knew Buzard hadn't been feeling well lately.

"I don't think he or anybody knew the extent of it," he said.

The Zias begin conditioning workouts after Labor Day.

"His health is more important than anything right now," Klafka said. "I can deal with anything workwise that needs to be taken care of."

Buzard, a Portales native and 1992 ENMU graduate, spent 13 years as a graduate assistant and full-time assistant. He replaced longtime coach Wayne Moore in 2002.

The Zias went 7-20 in Buzard's first year and improved to 16-12 in 2003-04, the year Buzard was named Lone Star Conference South Division coach of the year.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press