Isiah to coach FIU opener after mom's heart attack

BY foxsports • November 9, 2009

Florida International University coach Isiah Thomas plans to coach Monday's season opener against the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels despite his mother suffering a heart attack on Saturday night.

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"She told me to go to work," Thomas told

Thomas spent all day Sunday with his mother, 86-year-old Mary Thomas, in Chicago before arriving in Chapel Hill, N.C., early Monday.

Mary Thomas emerged from the surgery "well," said Hashim Alauddeen, FIU's director of basketball operations.

FIU will play against North Carolina at 7 p.m. ET on Monday in a game that kicks off the college basketball season.

Thomas was at shootaround with the Golden Panthers on Monday, then planned to spend the afternoon in his hotel room preparing for the game.

Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer who coached the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, signed a five-year deal in April to coach FIU — a school that has had nine consecutive losing seasons.

The Golden Panthers lost an exhibition game this past week to Northwood University, a NAIA school coached by former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.