They may be intense competitors on the court, but four Division 1 basketball coaches are on the same team when it comes to fighting cancer.
University of Memphis head basketball coach Tubby Smith, joins University of Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger; University of North Carolina’s Roy Williams; and Jay Wright, head basketball coach of Villanova University, is a new Coaches vs. Cancer ad campaign designed to raise money for research and treatment, increase awareness about the disease and promote healthy living.
Smith is the former head basketball coach at the University of Georgia and the University of Kentucky.
The campaign by the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society uses the theme “Come Play for Us,” which kicked off with a 30-second television spot and will also include radio and digital and social media campaigns. It runs through April 3.
Their participation in the campaign, is part of their “passion” to find a cure, “but each of them has had either family of friends affected by cancer,” said Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer for the American Cancer Society. ‘They’re unbelievable ambassadors.”
Smith, for instance, was once diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and was successfully treated, according to media reports.
In the ads, the coaches encourage viewers to join their team.
The campaign “gives fans a little peek behind the curtain of the recruiting process,” said David Doan, vice president, Strategic Alliances - Sports, Development & Marketing. “We set the stage, asking all fans to become donors and investors to ‘Come Play for Us’. “
From February 1 to March 5, the campaign will feature the “3-Point Challenge”, where fans can pledge to donate to the cancer society for every three-pointer their favorite basketball team makes. About 150 schools have signed on and teams can be matched up against their rival schools to see who can raise the most funds.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
This year, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the United States.
Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the ACS and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Since 1993, coaches have raised more than $100 million to fight cancer.