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Final Four: It was a big weekend for Coaches vs. Cancer

This past weekend's Final Four NCAA men's college basketball games in Minneapolis, as well as the championship game on Monday, provided Coaches vs. Cancer a springboard to help raise money and support for our mission, as well as a unique opportunity to further engage college coaches, their spouses, and the basketball community in the fight against cancer. 

The goal was to develop new local and national volunteer, healthcare, and corporate relationships and sponsorships, as well as expand on the success of the program to date with the opportunity to showcase the impact CvC has had and continues to have on the fight against cancer.

Attending from ACS were our CEO Gary Reedy and his wife, Cindy; Sharon Byers, our chief development, marketing, and communications officer; Howard Byck, senior VP, Corporate Alliances & Solutions; Daryl Evans, VP, Strategic Sports Alliances; Christi Erickson, VP, Regional Distinguished Partners, North Region; Dan Heist, ACS Board chair and his wife Pam; and Scarlott Mueller, a former ACS Board chair, and her husband, Jim. 

Here is a rundown of Friday - Monday events:

FRIDAY, APRIL 5 

  • Two teams of cancer fighters — the Hardwood Heroes — 10 a.m. US Bank Stadium. Led by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA®) coaches Jim Calhoun and Bo Ryan, kicked off the Final Four® by going head-to-head to raise awareness for cancer research. Playing on the same court as the National Championship Game, team Calhoun won by just one point. Team Calhoun included Paul Nelson, Jacquelyn Harvey, Anne Barlow, Karli McGill, Karim Sadak, Derek Peterson, Kyle Taylor. Team Ryan included Mike Thompson, Melissa Kovalesky, Chris Weight, Elizabeth Neil, Seth Haacke, Jonathan Benson, Laura Sampson.
  • National High School Basketball Coaches Meeting, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Minneapolis Convention Center - A gathering of National High School Basketball Coaches Board Members & State Representatives. Coaches vs Cancer is their charity of choice and we will have a 5- to 10-minute speaking opportunity. 
  • Coaches vs Cancer Booth in Conjunction with NHSBCA Booth, 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Minneapolis Convention Center - An opportunity for Coaches at various levels of coaching to stop in, learn more about CvC, chat with the NHSBCA Team, and see how they can engage with Coaches vs Cancer in their home arena.
  • INFINITI Timeout For The Win Celebration, 11 a.m. US Bank Stadium Medtronic Club Lounge - A new addition for 2019, this 150-person luncheon included select Head Coaches participating in the #TIMEOUT FOR THE WIN promotion, Hardwood Heroes Game Coaches & Players, & key partners.  
  • Listening Session with Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing, and communications officer; 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center - An intimate gathering of select staff to discuss work of the Trust in Leadership and Decision-Making internal workgroups.  
  • NABC Welcome Reception, 5 - 7 p.m. CST, Hilton Downtown - Annual gathering of National Association of Basketball Coaches including select coaches, staff, core partners, and members of the NABC.  
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs Miami Heat Game, 7 p.m., Target Center - Tickets for Youth & High School Council Members and ACS Staff provided by the Minnesota Timberwolves and distributed to staff via Flash Seats. 
SATURDAY, APRIL 6

  • Coaches vs. Cancer Council Meeting, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. CST; Minneapolis Convention Center - The Coaches vs. Cancer Council included many of the most successful college basketball coaches nationwide. The attendees represented many of our most dedicated volunteers who have driven the most fundraising for Coaches vs. Cancer.
  • Coaches vs Cancer Booth in Conjunction with NHSBCA Booth, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Minneapolis Convention Center - An opportunity for Coaches at various levels of coaching to stop in, learn more about CvC, chat with the NHSBCA Team, and see how they can engage with Coaches vs Cancer in their home arena.
  • Naismith Nominee Service Project, 11 a.m. - noon; University of Minnesota – Masonic Children’s Hospital - Ja Morant of Murray State (Naismith Player of the Year Nominee), Grant Williams of Tennessee (Naismith Player of the Year Nominee), Zion Williams of Duke (Naismith Player of Year Winner), and Matisse Thybulle of Washington (Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Winner) visited with pediatric patients.
  • Coaches vs. Cancer Wives Brunch, 10:30 a.m. - noon CST, Minneapolis Convention Center - The Wives Brunch, held annually during the NCAA Final Four, provided the opportunity for our coaches’ wives/partners to network with colleagues and work to leverage their passion for the American Cancer Society.  
  • NCAA Men’s National Championship Semifinals, US Bank Stadium - Auburn vs. Virginia, 6:09 p.m. ET; Texas Tech vs. Michigan State, 8:49 p.m. ET
SUNDAY, APRIL 7

  • Naismith Awards Brunch, 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Nicollet Island Pavilion - Annual brunch presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club that recognizes the men’s/women’s player, coach, and contributor of the year awards.
  • Suits & Sneakers and Key CvC Item Chat with Staff, 2 p.m. CST - Internal brainstorming and next steps session around Suits & Sneakers, Pink Out Games, and wives engagement.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs Oklahoma City Thunder Game, 2:30 p.m. CST, Target Center -Tickets for Youth & High School Council Members and ACS Staff provided by the Minnesota Timberwolves.  
  • NABC Guardians of the Game Dinner and Awards Show, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Minneapolis Convention Center - Featured the most prominent student-athletes and coaches in men’s college basketball. It is also the only opportunity to see both NCAA National Championship Game head coaches interviewed live on stage. The goal of the show is to focus attention on the positive aspects of basketball and the role coaches play in the lives of student-athletes, in addition to the contributions coaches make to their communities. Gary presented our Coaches vs. Cancer 2019 Champion Award to Pat Chambers, head men's basketball coach at Penn State.
MONDAY, APRIL 8

  • CEOs Breakfast with CEO Gary Reedy,  7 - 8:30 a.m. Downtown Hilton Duluth Room - Intimate gathering of executives & innovation leaders in the Twin Cities hosted by Gary Reedy and North Region EVP Dave Benson 
  • Officials vs Cancer Breakfast, 9 a.m. Minneapolis Hilton Lobby Restaurant - Small gathering of Sports Alliances staff and key Officials vs Cancer volunteers to discuss recognition, 2019-2020 planning, and program expansion.  
  • Small Staff Luncheon with CEO Gary Reedy,11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Zelo at Nicollet Mall - Small luncheon with CEO Gary Reedy, North Region EVP Dave Benson, and Minneapolis-based ACS staff representing multiple areas of work.
  • NCAA Men’s National Championship Finals, US Bank Stadium, 9 p.m. ET.


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