RICHMOND, Va. – This weekend marks the annual Coaches vs. Cancer suits and sneakers weekend, where more than 4,000 coaches will turn awareness into action by swapping their dress shoes for sneakers to finish the fight against cancer. Coach Smart and his staff will be a part of that group joining the fight.
"The Coaches vs. Cancer program turns 20 this year, and in just two decades, high school and college basketball coaches have helped raise more than $85 million for the American Cancer Society. What an amazing accomplishment…and proof that coaches can really make a difference in the fight against cancer," said Gary M. Reedy, volunteer chair of the board for the Society. "In May, the American Cancer Society will celebrate its 100th birthday. Thanks in part to the progress and support of programs like Suits and Sneakers, nearly 14 million cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday."
Suits and Sneakers weekend is an annual event coordinated by the Coaches vs. Cancer program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Wearing sneakers is a simple way to spotlight the fact that cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States --- exceeded only by heart disease, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths -- and remind people about all the ways they can reduce their risk of cancer; like eating right, exercising, making healthy lifestyle choices and following the Society's recommended cancer screening guidelines.
The Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend isn't just for coaches. Everyone can get involved through the Suits and Sneakers Challenge, which engages companies and basketball fans throughout the nation. As an extension of the weekend, corporations and organizations are encouraged to participate in the challenge by hosting a Wear Your Sneakers to Work Day.
Fans can also support the fight against cancer - no matter where they live or work – by texting "COACH" to 20222. Every time fans text from January 21 through April 9, they'll be entered for a chance to win exclusive basketball experiences like watching the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic courtside or autographed gear from top coaches like Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, Gonzaga's Mark Few and Stanford's Johnny Dawkins.
Since 1993, participating coaches have helped raise more than $85 million for the American Cancer Society's lifesaving work. Coaches also lend their voices and leadership to fight back with lawmakers to make this world a healthier place to live. Visit coachesvscancer.org or "like" Coaches vs. Cancer on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about Suits and Sneakers.
Additionally, Smart is participating in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge.
Until March 11, Infiniti is helping 48 of the nation's top college basketball coaches compete to raise money for charities in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge. Coaches will count on their network of fans, alumni, students, faculty and charities to advance to the finals. School supporters will have a chance to vote daily for their favorite coach in each of the four regions – East, South, West and Midwest.
Infiniti, a corporate sponsor of NCAA Men's Basketball, is donating $5,000 to each participating coach's selected charity just for participating. The coach who receives the most votes will win $100,000, which will be awarded to his selected charity.
This year, Coach Smart will be representing the FRIENDS Association of Richmond.
Fans can vote every day and voting will take place at www.ESPN.com/Infiniti and last for eight weeks. For the first six weeks, four brackets of 12 coaches will be paired against each other, with the winners from each group moving onto the next round in week seven and the final round in week eight. Fans can vote for up to four coaches per day. The winning coach will be announced March 11.