WATERLOO, Iowa --- In the midst with his battle with cancer, Waterloo East wrestling coach Willie Gadson has asked for and been granted a leave of absence from his position with the Trojans.

Reached on Thursday, Gadson said he had surgery on his liver on Christmas Eve in Rochester, Minn., the surgery was part of his treatment for the bone and lung cancer he was diagnosed with last spring.

Gadson said he was in Rochester until Dec. 30.

“I’m battling. I’m just not feeling good right now,” Gadson said. “I hope to return sometime this season, but I can’t make any guarantees.”

According to East athletic director Al Pace, current volunteer assistants, retired Hall of Fame wrestling official Mike Allen, and teacher Dan Ankrum, will fill in.

‘I told coach I will be here when you come back,” said Allen, who has turned down a request to be one of the head officials at the NWCA National Duals in Springfield, Ill. later this month to fill in has East’s coach.

“Coach called me on New Year’s Eve and said he wasn’t feeling good and, ‘I can’t do it anymore,’” Allen added. “I told him there is no question I’ll be able to help out for the rest of the season.”

East is next in action on Saturday at the New Hampton Invitational.

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