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Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard reveals testicular cancer diagnosis

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  • Jamie Pollard
    American athletic director

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he announced Wednesday in a letter to Cyclones fans.

Pollard, who has been at Iowa State since 2005, said that he had first felt pain in his groin after a run about a month ago. After meeting with doctors, he had a testicle surgically removed last week and was officially diagnosed with cancer the next day.

On Monday, he learned that the cancer had not spread elsewhere in his body.

“I debated sharing this information widely to avoid my diagnosis being a distraction to our athletics program,” Pollard wrote. “However, the reality of hiding the news has also been stressful. Last week, I was scheduled to speak to more than 500 individuals [at an event on campus], a commitment made months ago.

“Regrettably, I had to miss my appearance on very short notice [due to surgery] and it was disheartening to be unable to share the real reason for my cancellation ... By sharing some details of my cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, I can emphasize the critical importance of early detection as it relates to cancer survival rates.”

Pollard, 56, is the longest-tenured athletic director in Iowa State history. He’s credited with bringing Matt Campbell to Ames, which has revitalized the football program in recent years, and hiring former player Fred Hoiberg to lead the basketball program. Hoiberg won two Big 12 tournament titles before jumping to the NBA in 2015. 

Pollard is also the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, and a member of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee.

He suffered a heart attack in 2015, and needed triple-bypass surgery. That experience, he said, was another reason why he wanted to share his diagnosis.

Pollard said he will undergo CT scans every 3-6 months to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread. He said chemotherapy or other radiation treatments are also on the table.

“I feel blessed to know the cancer has not spread and am ready to follow what my medical team feels is the best course of treatment,” he said. “As Coach Campbell likes to say, 'Trust the Process.' That's exactly what I'm going to do.”

Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard
Jamie Pollard said he learned Monday, about a week after undergoing surgery, that his cancer had not spread. (AP/Charlie Neibergall, File)
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