Last month Oakland head coach Greg Kampe announced that he would be hosting a “beat cancer” fundraiser, and the project was different from many that Division I head coaches involved with Coaches vs. Cancer tend to hold. Kampe’s idea was to involve other head coaches with the project by allowing fans to bid on the opportunity to golf with the head coach of their choice at Oakland Hills Country Club May 31 and June 1.
The auction closed Wednesday night, and it’s safe to say that it was a successful one. How successful? When the auction closed Wednesday night $161,000 was the final tally.
Among the coaches participating are Arizona’s Sean Miller, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and North Carolina’s Roy Williams. Amongst the coaches who joined Kampe in this cause, it was Izzo whose bid wound up being the highest at $19,000.
However dinner and a round on the links with Kampe raised the highest amount of money, with bidding for that opportunity closing at $30,000. According to the Detroit Free Press, Kampe wanted to make a big impact from a financial standpoint. It’s safe to say that he accomplished that goal.
“This isn’t about awareness, this is about getting the money to do something,” Kampe said according to the Free Press. “You’ve got to think big, and I’m thinking big. Did we reach as big as I wanted? No. But what I’ve got to do is make this the best 24 hours in these people’s entertainment lives so they go and talk about it.”
For the third consecutive year the Wisconsin basketball program held its “Shooting Down Cancer” event on Wednesday, with students having the opportunity to make a few baskets while helping to raise money for cancer research. Part of the fun was that head coach Bo Ryan and his wife Kelly would donate based upon how many students showed up, and how many shots they could make.
The Ryans donated a dollar for every student that showed up, with a made free throw resulting in a $10 donation and a made half-court shot netting a $1,000 donation. By the end of the event more than $53,000 was raised, and with matching donations the final tally came out to more than $276,000.
And of course, there is video of Coach Ryan signing the final check for the American Cancer Society.
Friday afternoon the 18th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament was played at the Penn State Blue and White golf courses, with more than 300 golfers signing up for a good cause. Also taking part in the event were former pro Ron Harper and Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers, with the cause being an especially personal one for the head coach.
How personal? In a story written by Ben Jones of StateCollege.com about the event, it’s mentioned that Chambers’ older brother Gregory passed away from the disease (lung cancer) on March 18. This wasn’t a situation made public by Chambers or anyone within the Penn State basketball family, with the head coach preferring to keep the news private.
What also stands out about the story is the bond shared by Chambers and rising senior guard D.J. Newbill, whose mother passed away from cancer in 2012. The relationship between the two has been an especially close one, with the two supporting each other in their respective times of need.
“But I feel like the relationship we have now we can talk about anything, talk about our feelings, talking about our emotions, talking about what we’re going through and how we can get through it,” Chambers said. “And how we can make peace with everything and understand why. I think that’s the biggest question to caregivers is “why?” Why is it happening to me why, is it happening to him, why is it happening to his wife? Why did it happen to DJ and his family? So I think we have an open line of communication like that and it can only be therapeutic and helpful.”
The full story can be read here.
The Nebraska basketball program is taking advantage of the NABC Suits and Sneakers weekend by teaming up with the American Cancer Society on Sunday when the Huskers host Minnesota in a Big Ten contest
Fans and students are encouraged to help the Huskers and the American Cancer Society in their ways to raise awareness for cancer research by dressing in a suit coat and sneakers for the Minnesota game.
The Big Ten Network’s LiveBIG’s promotion will also be going on and the university with the most students “suited up” over the weekend will receive a $10,000 donation to the school’s Relay for Life Initiative, which raises critical funds for cancer research.
Nebraska will also go a step further and have a Bone Marrow Donation awareness initiative for their students and fans on Sunday as well. Avery Harriman, the son of Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was two years old. Avery underwent a bone marrow transplant last year, and is now leukemia free.
The Nebraska game against Minnesota is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
In mid-December Akron director of basketball operations Dan Peters went on leave after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, leaving the Zips without a man who has more than three decades of coaching experience at the college level. With this being Coaches vs. Cancer “Suits and Sneakers” weekend, the event takes on added meaning for Keith Dambrot’s program as a result.
For their game on Wednesday against Ball State, Akron will distribute 3,000 purple T-shirts with the saying “4 Pete’s Sake” emblazoned on them to fans, with purple being the color associated with pancreatic cancer awareness. Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase “4 Pete’s Sake” lapel pins for $5, with the proceeds being donated to pancreatic cancer research.
However Akron won’t be alone in honoring Peters as he fights this disease either, with multiple programs that have a connection to Peters wearing “4 Pete’s Sake” lapel pins on their suit jackets.
Programs showing their support for Peters through lapel pins or patches include Arizona (where his son, Danny, is an assistant director of operations), Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Delta State, Eastern Michigan (men and women), Houghton College, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Ohio State, St. Joseph’s (Ind.) College, Toledo, Walsh College, Western Carolina, Western Michigan and Youngstown State (men and women).
Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde wrote a touching story on Peters and his fight, and it can be read here.
This coming weekend is an important one in college basketball, and not solely because of some of the big conference match-ups on the docket. It’s also the Coaches vs. Cancer’s “Suits and Sneakers” weekend, with many coaching staffs across the country eschewing the standard dress shoes for sneakers in support of the fight against cancer.
In the case of Marquette, not only will head coach Buzz Williams and the rest of the coaching staff wear sneakers when they host No. 4 Villanova on Saturday but the players will don special uniforms for the occasion. Marquette tweeted a picture of the new uniforms on Thursday afternoon:
So instead of the standard home white uniform the Golden Eagles will wear pink, and it’s for a good cause. One question I have is whether or not there will be a special shoe as well, maybe something along the lines of the Jordan Melo 10 Georgetown players wore during a game in early January.
Coaches vs. Cancer was established as a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Note: why they’d have Georgetown wearing the signature shoe of a player who attended Syracuse is a question for another day.