Basketball coach who led Coast teams for nearly 40 years steps away to battle cancer

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St. Patrick’s girls basketball coach Dave Gaunce coached his team against Tylertown on Tuesday night before stepping away to fight a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Gaunce was diagnosed in November and began chemotherapy on Wednesday.

A GoFundMe has been set up and the community raised over $8,000 in the first day, his daughter, Denae Gaunce, said.

“After giving so much of himself to his players and students for the past 38 years, he is finally starting to get a sense of the incredible impact he has had and continues to have on this community,” Denae said. “The hundreds of comments, texts, messages, videos, and visits to our house since this news broke ALL speak for themselves.”

Gaunce has coached football and basketball in the region for nearly four decades, including stops at Ocean Springs and Gautier.

Coach told WXXV he is hopeful to return court-side this season.