Fakehany Beating The Odds
By Lara Boyko
Coaches like to brag about how their elite players compete with heart when they refuse to give up and will fight until the end.
For 69-year-old Thomas Fakehany, a Colorado alumni and member of the Pac-12 statistics crew and team behind the scenes at the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament, the same can be said.
"I went in a week before the tournament and my doctor said I had a week to live," said Fakehany of the 2010 edition of the Pac-12 Tournament. "I had two heart attacks I did not know about. The left side of my heart had shut down and when they did the angiography, they discovered that two of my arteries were blocked and another one was 60 percent blocked."
Fakehany, who has been part of the stat crew arm of the Pac-12 Tournament family since the tournament moved to Los Angeles in 2008, was forced to take a bye that year from the event. He successfully had triple bypass surgery and then got busy livin'.
"I decided that one of my goals after my surgery was to come back as I led an active lifestyle and had grandkids," said Fakehany, who said he has survived in large part thanks to his wife of 43 years, Ann Marie. "Behind every great man is a woman pushing him and I was told what I would do and I did it. When you are so beat up from this, you do what you are told."
In 2011, he returned to the action at the Galen Center and STAPLES Center after losing 50 pounds. This year he has also been court side and part of the team that puts on the tournament with heart.
"I love this atmosphere as it is exciting," said Fakehany, who also is an official at women's volleyball games at the community college level. "You walk into an event like this and glow."