BENNINGTON, Vt. – On Saturday, the Southern Vermont College basketball teams will join forces with the visiting Lesley University squads to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend to support the ACS.
All admission takes at the door during the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader will be donated to the ACS; the SVC women’s team will tip-off against the Lynx at 1 p.m. at the Mountaineer Athletic Center on the Southern Vermont campus with the men’s sides then facing off around 3 p.m. People can also make online donations for the event either before or after Saturday by visiting http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/CoachesvsCancer/CVCCY16National?team_id=1980787&pg=team&fr_id=76363. Additionally, the SVC women’s soccer team will be running its usual 50/50 raffle during the afternoon with its 50 percent of all funds raised going straight to the ACS.
Coaching staffs from each of the four teams plan to wear tennis shoes along with their game-day suits in support of the Suits and Sneakers initiative.
“Cancer has impacted us all,” commented third-year SVC head men’s coach Dan Engelstad. “I'm honored that our program can continue to spread awareness, support such a great cause, and have our teams join the fight against cancer.”
Mike Quinn, seventh-year head coach of Southern Vermont’s women’s team, added that, “Cancer is such a devastating disease, it requires all of our participation in events like these to help further the research to find cures.”
According to its website, the Coaches vs. Cancer program empowers coaches, their teams, and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs, and fundraising activities. Guided by the Coaches vs. Cancer Council, participating coaches help people with cancer today and find cures to end the disease tomorrow, and they have raised more than $87 million to help the American Cancer Society’s mission. The Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week runs from January 25-31 and anticipates being supported by hundreds of collegiate and high school games across the country.
“We, as a program, are honored to team up with a fellow NECC family member in raising awareness and funds in the fight against cancer,” noted Josh Motroni, the second-year head coach of Lesley’s women’s crew. “Many of us have been affected by this illness in some form over the years, and, sadly, it will touch many more of us in the days and years to come. However, with all of our help today, tomorrow and in the future, we can help win the battle against this terrible opponent.”
The cause has particularly resonated with the LU men’s side over the last year as mentioned by second-year head coach Chris Giordano. “Coaches vs. Cancer has done a tremendous job over the years in helping raise support, awareness, and money to find a cure for this terrible illness, and we are proud to pair up with Southern Vermont to join the fight against cancer,” Giordano said. “Our program was greatly affected by the disease this year as Treyvon Trent, who we expected to be a great part of the Lesley community as an incoming freshman, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma over the summer. While we know that that Trey is a really tough kid and will overcome, we want to do everything we can to keep raising awareness and push towards a cure.”
Brian Casalinova, a Community Events Specialist for the ACS and 1999 graduate of Southern Vermont, said, “Suits And Sneakers Awareness Week is such an important week in the fight against cancer, and we are so grateful for the support of Southern Vermont College each and every year. This is a nationwide event, but it’s the participation and support of the smaller schools like SVC that make this week special.”
This is the third straight year that Southern Vermont Basketball has teamed up with the ACS in the fight during its home games in late January. Previous NECC members to also take part while playing at SVC have been Regis College (2015) and Elms College (2014).
The Coaches vs. Cancer program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The initiative leverages the personal experiences, community leadership and professional excellence of coaches nationwide to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The program seeks to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living among students, faculty, staff, fans, and the community at large. Since its inception in 1993, the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer initiative has raised more than $93 million to support the Society’s mission.