NASHVILLE, Tenn. – October signals the beginning of fall, but it also means it is time for Atlantic Sun Men’s Soccer programs to kick off the third annual Coaches vs. Cancer games.
The inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer event in 2010 had five benefit games held over one weekend with a goal of raising awareness of cancer, acknowledging survivors at half time and honoring those who lost their lives to cancer.
In 2011 the men's teams built upon that platform with each team holding its own event, resulting in eight Coaches vs. Cancer benefit games.
“Anytime you can get the guys thinking about the bigger picture other than what is going on in their lives is a good thing,” Lipscomb head coach Charles Morrow said. “It’s about getting them to understand they have a unique platform and have them understand they have a responsibility to use that platform for something bigger than themselves. That is a huge life lesson and a part of what we are trying to get across to the guys over their four years. Wherever you are at in life you have a unique opportunity to impact the world around them in a positive way.”
In addition to raising awareness and expanding the number of benefit games, the teams have been committed to making a financial donation to the American Cancer Society. During each home team’s benefit game a framed autographed jersey signed by the team has been used to promote the event and raise money. Including the promotion of the jersey, multiple programs have given 100 percent of ticket and concession sales towards Coaches vs. Cancer.
“The Coaches vs. Cancer benefit games are a wonderful opportunity for coaches and players to do something beneficial for their program and community,” said former Onongonda Community College athletic director and current Coaches vs. Cancer representative Hank Fengler. “The American Cancer Society is very excited with our involvement with this event and look forward to make these benefit games more of an impact each year.”
Stadium Frame owner John Montanez (www.uniquejerseyframe.com) has custom designed and delivered each unique jersey to various Atlantic Sun programs across the Southeast at cost. Many times the jerseys have been received, built, shipped and in-hand within three-to-four days.
“Anytime our company can build a new relationship with a university we are excited about the opportunity,” Montanez said. “These benefit games were something we wanted to be a part of and are pleased that we could assist the soccer teams in such a special event.”
The Coaches vs. Cancer soccer benefit games have generated $6,000 towards the American Cancer Society. This donation is the largest cumulative donation by any Atlantic Sun Conference sport.
“Though we are competitors on the field it’s inspiring to see our coaches unite their efforts to benefit a cause that we all believe in,” Atlantic Sun Soccer Chairman Scott Calabrese. “We are committed to growing this annual event as well its ability to raise awareness and funding for the cause with each season. I appreciate the dedication and commitment of the coaches and administrators of the Atlantic Sun who insured it would be a success.”
This year the soccer programs in the A-Sun are making it a competition to see which team can raise the most funds. Each home team will post its total donations received after its designated Coaches vs. Cancer game. The team with the most funds raised will receive a certificate from Atlantic Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart.
2012 Coaches v Cancer Games
ETSU – Oct 5 vs. UNF
FGCU – Oct. 12 vs. USC-Upstate
UNF – Oct. 12 vs. NKU
Lipscomb – Oct 13 vs. ETSU
JU – Oct. 18 vs. FGCU
Mercer – Oct 25th vs. NKU
Stetson – Oct. 26th vs. UNF
USC Upstate – Oct 28 vs. Mercer
NKU – Nov. 3 vs. Lipscomb