What started as a vision to challenge fans to pledge money in the fight against cancer by legendary former University of Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart, has evolved over the past 25 years into the national program Coaches vs. Cancer, with more than 2,000 coaches involved and more than $110 million raised to fight cancer.
In 1993, the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) teamed up and adopted Stewart's concept, transforming it into a nationwide effort to unite coaches across the country with the common mission to beat cancer. As a result, funds raised over the past 25 years have helped the American Cancer Society provide patients with more than 335,000 rides to treatment as part of the Road to Recovery program and more than 450,000 free nights at Hope Lodge facilities.
Stewart founded Coaches vs. Cancer after his personal battle with colon cancer, to rally coaches and fans to help make a difference in the fight against cancer.
"We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Coaches vs. Cancer with the tipoff of the 2017-18 season," said Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer. "Thanks to the efforts of Norm Stewart, this program has become a national movement of coaches uniting, alongside fans, students, and communities, in the fight against cancer," she said.
Basketball fans attending the sell-out Nov. 10 season opener against Iowa State were given gold Coaches vs. Cancer 25th anniversary towels. A special CvC 25th anniversary video featuring Stewart debuted at halftime, and will be shown at every home game this season. A second one featuring numerous coaches also has been created. Both videos promote Suits & Sneakers Week and the CvC 3-Point Challenge.
Shortly before the game started, a bronze statue of Stewart was unveiled outside Mizzou Arena. The bronze statue features him pointing with his right hand, index finger extended — probably in the direction of an official, Stewart joked. Stewart coached Mizzou from 1967 to 1999 and won more than 630 games in his Hall of Fame career. He helped lead the Tigers to 16 of its 26 all-time NCAA tournament appearances and 19 Big 8 tournament championships.
Read more coverage of the event here.
TOP PHOTOS: A Coaches vs. Cancer banner was displayed at the season opener inside Mizzou Arena in Columbia, MO. On the right, in front of the statue of Stewart is, left to right, NABC Executive Director Reggie Minton, CvC founder Norm Stewart, CvC director Natalie Morrison, and retired coach and CvC council member Bobby Cremins.