WORLEY, Idaho – Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide effort of the National Association of Basketball Coaches working in collaboration with the American Cancer Society to raise money for the fight against cancer, to raise awareness about cancer, and to promote healthy lifestyles.
This effort began in 1993 and now involves more than 2,000 college coaches. More than $50 million has been raised, and those totals are increasing as fundraising efforts continue.
Gonzaga University’s head men’s basketball coach, Mark Few, is a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer council and heads up a huge effort in the Inland Empire of the Northwest to raise money for the cause, an effort Mark and Marcy Few began in 2002. And that’s also where the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has volunteered as the title sponsor of this event for the second year in a row.
Marcy Few, Mark’s wife, co-chairs the activities with Mark and spends all year working on it. “We have a committee to bring to the forefront the fight against cancer in an environment that is fun and entertaining for the guests. Our planning is to get everything so it goes without a hitch. It involves getting a great group of celebrities here, procuring sponsorships, putting together an advertising campaign and working with our sponsors.”
She said the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been “unbelievably generous, unbelievably easy to work with. Every interaction that myself or Mark or Jerid Keefer (regional coordinator) has had with them has been positive. I remember one of our initial meetings with Chairman Allan this year when we talked about moving golf to Circling Raven. His response was ‘we will roll out the red carpet for this group and we will charge you as little as possible because we want the money to go toward the cause.’ This is after they’ve already offered us the title sponsorship. They’ve gone above and beyond what we’ve expected and they truly are showing a humble spirit in that the biggest thing they want in return is to help us raise money to fight cancer. It’s just been a great partnership.”
Money that is raised goes to ACS and local charities specific to cancer such as the Children’s Hospital Oncology Ward at Sacred Heart Hospital, Hospice House and Camp Good Times. The week-long camp is for youngsters 7 to 17 who are battling cancer and scholarships are provided so they can attend.
The tribe has not asked for any of the money to be directed at cancer work on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. “We actually opened it up to discussion if there were any specific needs on their end,” Marcy said. “As the partnership continues they may want to pursue that with us which we’d be totally open to.”
The opening event this fall began Aug. 28 when sports coaches and other sports celebrities gathered at Circling Raven Golf Club which adjoins the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Casino. The tribe provided a breakfast before golfers took to the fairways and chefs prepared gourmet snacks and sandwiches and had them available at points throughout the course. The weather was ideal and the course was in excellent condition, so it’s expected those in attendance will spread the word about the golf course and the host Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
Many coaches from universities throughout this region attended, as well as others from throughout the country. Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough, ESPN analysts, were present. Jay Triano, head coach of the Toronto Raptors and Jud Heathcote, who took Michigan State to a national championship, both attended. And there were numerous professional athletes from various sports.
This year’s proceeds, estimated at more than $450,000, will bring the total money raised by the Fews, Gonzaga University, and now the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, to upwards of $4 million since it began in 2002.