Former York High football star Chris Doleman will return to alma mater for June 1 ceremony

  • Former York High football standout Chris Doleman will return to his alma mater on Friday, June 1.
  • He will appear in York as part of the Hometown Hall of Famer™ program.
  • Doleman is trying to work his way back to health after being diagnosed with brain cancer in January.

Former York High football standout Chris Doleman will be honored at his alma mater on Friday, June 1.

Former York High football standout Chris Doleman is shown here in 2011, when he was presented with an honorary sign that was placed at Prospect and Lamour streets. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

Doleman will return to York through the Hometown Hall of Famer™ program presented by Ford Motor Co. The program pays tribute to the hometown roots of Hall of Famers. Doleman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

During the ceremony, which starts at 5:30 p.m., William Penn Senior High School will receive a plaque recognizing it as the 120th school to become an “Official High School of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” The plaque will be put on permanent display at the school.

It will be Doleman's first public appearance in York since being diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year.

On Jan. 22, Doleman was playing golf near his Atlanta-area home when he experienced a runny hose and some drippage coming out of the left side of his mouth. He went to see his doctor and was diagnosed with brain caner. 

“When a doctor tells you that you have brain cancer, it changes your whole world,” Doleman said in a phone interview in March with the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press from his Suwanee, Georgia, home. “Those are the scariest words that you’ll ever hear in your life. When I first heard it, I was so devastated by it I couldn’t get any words out of my mouth.”

Doleman was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same cancer Arizona Sen. John McCain has. He had surgery on Jan. 25 to remove a tumor. During the procedure, two additional tumors were found. After the surgery, he began radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Doleman spent five weeks in the hospital, and lost 40 pounds, dropping to 232. He was released Feb. 26, and began putting some of his weight back on.

“I feel great, man,” Doleman said told the Pioneer-Press in late March. “God has blessed me for the last month just waking up every day, one day at a time. That’s how I look at it.

“We’re working on (the cancer) on a daily basis. It can heal, and it can come back. I ask Vikings fans to pray for me on a daily basis. Just one day at a time.

“...If you got this kind of cancer 10 years ago, there was no recourse for you,” Doleman said. “It was a closed story. … The (doctors) thought (the surgery) was successful. But it’s been a grind. I have spent a lot of time sleeping. That’s the only time that your brain can really heal.”

Doleman was a 15-year NFL veteran with the Minnesota Vikings (1985-93, 1999), Atlanta Falcons (1994-95) and San Francisco 49ers (1996-98). He was named to eight Pro Bowls, selected First-Team All-Pro twice and named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

Doleman was also a standout at the University of Pittsburgh.

The (St. Paul) Pioneer-Press, through the Tribune News Service, contributed to this story.