Coach K is wrapping his iconic coaching career by auctioning off a pair of signed sneakers, worn on-court this season, with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.
For over 25 years, Coaches vs. Cancer — a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches — has raised millions of dollars to help fight the disease that was diagnosed in an estimated 1.9 million new patients last year.
Through year-round fundraising efforts, education initiatives, and on-court activations, including their annual Suits and Sneakers Week, Coaches vs. Cancer taps into the passion surrounding college basketball. Since its inception, the organization has raised over $140 million.
In conjunction with the NCAA Tournament tipping off this week, Coaches vs. Cancer has partnered with digital platform Engage on a sweepstakes to raffle autographed sneakers from the biggest men’s coaches in the country, including Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, retired legend Roy Williams, Fran McCaffery of Iowa, Scott Drew of Baylor, Kelvin Sampson of Houston, Brad Underwood of Illinois, Eric Musselman of Arkansas, and many others.
Each coach signed a pair of shoes worn on-court this season. Krzyzewski, the all-time winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball history, also donated a signed pullover and collared shirt to go along with his Nike Air Force 1s that he wore during Suits And Sneakers Week. This is Coach K’s final season before retiring, as announced last summer.
The fight against cancer hits home especially hard for Coach McCaffery of the Big Ten champion Hawkeyes. His sons Connor and Patrick, a guard and forward, respectively, each play for the team. Patrick is a cancer survivor himself, having beat thyroid cancer that was discovered when he was in seventh grade. After redshirting his freshman season due to lingering health challenges, he’s started 31 games for Iowa this season as their third-leading scorer.
“I am always proud to participate in anything that benefits Coaches vs. Cancer,” said Fran McCaffery, first told to Boardroom. “This is an easy way for us coaches to get involved and utilize our names, and in this case, our shoes, for good. As the father of a cancer survivor, I believe that the more money we raise, the better the outcomes for cancer survivors like Patrick. What a fun opportunity for fans during the madness that is March.”
The Coaches vs. Cancer activation is even more meaningful for the McCaffery family because now with NIL opportunities, Connor can participate by contributing his own pair of signed sneakers to raise funds and celebrate his younger brother.
“Highlighting our Coaches vs. Cancer partnership during March Madness gives us a unique opportunity to bring the mission of the American Cancer Society forward in a new way,” said Natalie Morrison, American Cancer Society’s Senior Director of Coaches vs. Cancer. “The fundraising, advocacy, and awareness generated through the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ commitment to this program continues to make a huge impact in our fight against cancer.”
Tipping off Tuesday and running through April 30, fans can spend as little as $10 for four entries all the way up to as high as $500 for 200 entries in the sweepstakes on Engage. All proceeds from entries benefit the American Cancer Society.
Engage’s connectivity to the initiative is authentic. The brand was co-founded by former USC long snapper Jake Olson, who is blind from a rare form of eye cancer.
“As a company overall and through Jake’s foundation and community work, we support cancer research in so many different ways,” Engage co-founder and CEO Daniel Hennes told Boardroom. “What is unique about this sweepstakes is the accessibility for all to participate, whether you want to spend $10 dollars or $500. Our focus as a brand is to democratize and digitize access to talent, and we are proud to partner with Coaches vs. Cancer to leverage the excitement of March Madness to bring incredible attention, education, and fund raising to such an important cause.”
The first round of the men’s Division I NCAA Tournament tips off Thursday.
Below are all of the participants in the Coaches vs. Cancer sweepstakes.
Isaac Brown, Wichita State
Steve Donahue, Penn
Scott Drew, Baylor
Steve Henson, UTSA
James Jones, Yale
Jeff Jones, Old Dominion
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Fran McCaffery, Iowa
Porter Moser, Oklahoma
Eric Musselman, Arkansas
Kelvin Sampson, Houston
Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure
Tubby Smith, High Point
Brad Underwood, Illinois
Roy Williams, retired