Coaches vs. Cancer

Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week

January 23-29, 2017


Key Contacts

There are so many ways to help save lives from cancer with the American Cancer Society and the NABC. Visit or email to learn more.

For more information about Coaches vs. Cancer and how to bring it to your school, contact Natalie Morrison at

Coaches vs. Cancer Mission

To increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living among students, faculty, school staff, fans, and the community at large, through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs.

Coaches Making a Difference
Coaches vs. Cancer leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs.

This program provides critical mission outreach, while raising funds in support of the Society's lifesaving efforts to help people stay well and get well, fund groundbreaking research into cancer's causes and cures, and fight back through legislative action and the local, state, and national levels. Since 1993, high school and college coaches across the country have raised nearly $85 million to support the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer.

College basketball coaches spend hours planning and preparing for their opponents. Each year members of the NABC also spend tireless hours to prepare a game plan off the court in the fight against cancer through their involvement with the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

Together, we can save lives.


Coaches vs. Cancer Local Activities

Basketball Gala
The Coaches vs. Cancer Basketball Gala is a sports oriented and/or black-tie fundraising event in which top supporters, corporate donors, fellow coaches, and other colleagues in the sports industry enjoy an elegant evening that benefits the American Cancer Society and shows support for your team. The BasketBall Gala is often a celebrity-filled occasion, with appearances by NBA coaches and players, national sports commentators, recording artists, and other enthusiastic supporters. Colleges and universities across the country hold galas, which have raised significant funds for the American Cancer Society's lifesaving mission.

BasketBall galas are unique and luxurious events held at prestigious venues that are a night to remember! Packed with an exciting array of activities that leave participants wanting more, the galas' featured activities can include a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, and a short program that allows guests to understand the impact of their support. These galas often include live and silent auctions, allowing attendees the opportunity to win one-of-a-kind "experience" packages, priceless team memorabilia and other treasurers.

Golf Tournaments
Coaches vs. Cancer golf tournaments are held by college coaches in their local community to benefit the American Cancer Society. This premier networking and entertainment event helps build community relationships wiith corporate leaders, fans, and other community supporters all while raising funds and awareness to fight cancer.

Coaches Walk
The Coaches vs. Cancer walk is a community-based and campus-centered event to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society's lifesaving mission.

Coaches, their spouses, coaching staff, and players can organize a walk to support the fight against cancer and rally the community around the basketball program. Preferably held in early October as the basketball season begins and the weather cools, walks often take place around campus and end at the basketball arena. Walks sometimes include fun-filled activities like autograph sessions and allows walkers to foster strong connections with other walkers and their community. Students and fans share the camaraderie and the passion that coaches and college programs evoke.

Coaches Tip Off Breakfast
The Coaches vs. Cancer breakfast is an awareness raising and fundraising event that coaches host as a season opener. The breakfast boosts enthusiasm for the upcoming season, shares team predictions, recognizes and cultivates relationships with the team's supporters, and invites all guests to join the team in the fight against cancer. To emphasize the importance of supporting the American Cancer Society's lifesaving mission and all the people who are facing the disease, a cancer researcher, survivor, or caregiver typically attends the breakfast to serve as a guest speaker. Attendees include students, faculty, alumni, fans, corporate sponsors, and other community supporters. The breakfast is a unique opportunity for the coach to meet and greet fans and share their personal story about how cancer has affected his life, all while raising funds to support Coaches vs. Cancer.

High Schools
Below are just a few ideas included in the kit that your high school can implement to raise money to benefit people with cancer and their caregivers in your community:

  • Create a wall of hope: Use paper basketball cutouts available from your American Cancer Society to post in your gym or around the school. For a small donation, students, teachers, and staff can sign them in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of a loved one lost to the disease.
  • Hold halftime activities: During halftime, invite the crowd to get involved in the fight against cancer with three-point or half-court shots, shoot-against-the-clock competitions, contests between school mascots, contests among teachers or coaches, and more.
  • Organize fundraising competitions: Rival high schools or homerooms within a single school could compete to see which one can raise the most money for the American Cancer Society. Offer incentives, like pizza parties, to the team that wins.
  • Involve other groups: In addition to your basketball teams, look to your parent-teacher organization, cheerleaders, student council, other student organizations, players' parents, teachers, the school board, and others to get creative in coming up with new fundraising ideas.
  • Recruit local sponsors: Use the sample letter provided in the Game Day Kit to ask local businesses for a donation in support of their fight against cancer. They could make a donation outright, or agree to match the funds your school raises. Recognize the businesses at games during halftime or over your public announcement system.
  • Organize a direct donation of ticket sales or raffle proceeds: Ask your school to consider donating all the earnings from ticket or refreshment sales at a select game, or consider a 50/50 opportunity, where 50 percent of game ticket or refreshment sales are donated to the American Cancer Society. Another great way to get people involved is to hold a raffle, in which the winner receives a valuable prize that is donated to the cause, and the proceeds of the raffle are donated to the American Cancer Society.
  • Participate in Suits and Sneakers: Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend is a nationwide event held each year, when coaches across the country unite for a common cause - fighting cancer! Coaches and their staff are encouraged to wear sneakers with their game attire while coaching games during the designated weekend to raise awareness about the disease and promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for free information and help.

National Coaches vs. Cancer Events
For more information, contact Natalie Morrison at

Fight Cancer in Style
Fight Cancer in Style is more than a stylish brunch and premier shopping opportunity. Held during the NCAA Men's Final Four, this awareness-raising event hosted by coaches' wives allows other wives to learn more about getting involved in the fight against cancer in their schools and communities. Wives have been the inspiration and catalyst to the success of many coaches' local fundraisers over the years, and Fight Cancer in Style provides a platform for them to come together to share why they are personally involved with Coaches vs. Cancer, what they are doing in their communities and the impact of their contributions on those affected by cancer. The event consists of a gourmet brunch and program where attendees hear from fellow coaches' wives, cancer survivors, and American Cancer Society researchers. Specialty boutiques, featuring top designers and one-of-a-kind items, are set up around the venue so guests also can enjoy a unique shopping experience.

Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week
The 2017 Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness week will be held January 23-29. Suits and Sneakers is a national Coaches vs. Cancer event that is designed to raise awareness about the fight against cancer and the American Cancer Society by encouraging member coaches and their coaching staffs to wear sneakers with their suits at games held that weekend to show support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program. By wearing sneakers, participating coaches help raise awareness about cancer and the importance that nutrition and physical activity play in reducing one's risk of the disease. Additionally, this weekend helps promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn for free information, day-to-day help, and emotional support. 

For additional information on Suits and Sneakers weekend, click here.