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Cougar coach teams up to raise cancer awareness

Five Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men's basketball coaches will be making a fashion statement this weekend when they join the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. In their games this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the head coaches from the University of Minnesota, Morris, College of St. Scholastica, Crown College, Northland College, and Northwestern College will don a pair of white sneakers instead of dress shoes with their usual game attire to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer. To show their support of their coach's effort in the fight against cancer, fans also are encouraged to wear sneakers to games.

By lacing up sneakers with their suits, participating coaches nationwide will spotlight the fact that while cancer remains a major health concern, everyone can take daily steps to reduce their risk of the disease. For those who do not smoke, weight control, regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to improve health and reduce cancer risk. Obesity has been shown to increase the risk for many forms of cancer, including breast, prostate and colon cancers and may account for 20 percent of cancer deaths in women and 14 percent in men.

"The Coaches vs. Cancer program is a vital, year-round link between the American Cancer Society and the NABC that empowers basketball coaches, their teams and communities to join the fight against cancer," said Jim Satalin, director of the Coaches vs. Cancer program with the Society. "The program draws from the personal experiences, community leadership and the professional excellence of coaches nationwide to increase public awareness of the Society's mission to save lives and prevent cancer, and to raise funds to fight the disease on a variety of fronts."

In addition to coaches Paul Grove, David Staniger, Jon Barsness, Rob Robinson, and Tim Grosz, other active participants who support the Society through the Coaches vs. Cancer program are some of nation's top coaches - five of whom have won NCAA championships (dates noted), including Mike Krzyzewski (Duke, 1991, '92, 2001); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut, '99, '04); Jim Boeheim (Syracuse, '03); Gary Williams (Maryland, '02); Roy Williams (North Carolina, '05); Tubby Smith (Minnesota, but won title at Kentucky, '98); Mike Brey (Notre Dame); Mark Few (Gonzaga); Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph's); Fran Dunphy (Temple); and Mark Gottfried (Alabama).

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of college and high school coaches across the country, Coaches vs. Cancer participants have raised nearly $45 million since 1993 to help the Society save lives by educating and empowering people to avoid cancer or find it early, helping people facing cancer make decisions and overcome obstacles in their personal fight, investing in research that yields groundbreaking discoveries into cancer's causes and cures, and helping pass laws that fight cancer and keep our communities healthy.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free, 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit