Coaches vs. Cancer event to be hosted by Bartlett CC | Sports

OLEAN – On the way back from the Coaches vs. Cancer golf outing last year at Orchard Park’s Harvest Hill, Bartlett Country Club president Frank Higgins had a suggestion for St. Bonaventure basketball coach Mark Schmidt.

“You know,” he said, “we can really get this thing going and do it even better. Let’s do it to Bartlett and really make it an event where we can get the guys from Bonaventure back. “

Schmidt, associated with Coaches vs. Cancer since being recruited by former Bonnie boss Jim Satalin 12 years ago, and on the national board for the last two, was all for it.

“From a national point of view, we try to raise awareness about cancer and try to raise as much money as possible,” said Schmidt. ‘Everyone knows someone who has had it.

‘We wanted to take it to area code 716. Last year, Niagara, Canisius, Buffalo and us (coaches) were in attendance and we had a really good outing. It’s something special and we’re going to try to keep it, just like the national (event), but with a slightly smaller scope. “

AND SO IT IS, on Monday, August 30, Bartlett will play the Coaches vs. Cancer 716 Golf Classic.

The plan is for 36 foursomes – 144 golfers – to tee off in an 11-hour shotgun start.

Schmidt noted, “If we get 36 foursomes (at $ 2,000 per group), that’s $ 72,000.”

And that excludes the auction, and the general, dinner, game, and hole / tee sponsors currently being sought. In total, the event should bring in more than $ 100,000.

ALREADY committed to the tournament are Satalin, former Bona coaches Jim Baron and Larry Weise, Adrian Wojnarowski (‘Woj’, ESPN NBA insider), New York Post head sports columnist Mike Vaccaro and Chris LaPlaca (ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications) .

That list of SBU alums is no coincidence.

“We’re trying to get Bonaventure boys back, since it’s here … so as not to take anything away from Canisius or Niagara,” said Schmidt, “When I asked those (Bona) boys, before I got it out of my mouth, was it, “Yes, I’ll be there.”

“It should be a great event and everyone I’ve talked to to come, they’re all excited about it.”

Three coaches – Canisius’ Reggie Witherspoon, Niagara’s Greg Paulus and Buffalo’s Jim Whitesell – have committed to play, and Schmidt has reached out to several of his Atlantic 10 colleagues.

In addition, he hopes to lure ESPN college basketball analysts Seth Greenberg and Joe Lunardi to Olean for the event.

“It’s great for the community and Bartlett,” said Higgins. “And (bringing back) those all-time Bona guys plus UB, Niagara and Canisius makes it really special.”

Schmidt added: “We have a nice dinner with a guest speaker and the auction where Woj, for example, will bring some NBA stuff.

“It’s a great job, it has celebrities coming back and it’s an opportunity to play golf, have some beer and reminisce. We want to make it first-class. Hopefully this will be an annual occurrence and get bigger and bigger. I am excited about it. “

The $ 2,000 per foursome includes $ 100 in Coaches vs. Cancer merchandise per golfer, plus on-course lunch and dinner.

“We want to get it right the first year and then maybe expand,” said Higgins, a Cattaraugus County legislator and co-chair of the tournament with Schmidt’s wife, Anita, and Joe Guenther.

Proceeds will go to the national Pediatric Cancer Initiatives American Cancer Society Goal Together program, which then donates to children’s cancer programs at Roswell in Buffalo and the Wilmot Center at the University of Rochester.

BE PART of Coaches vs. Cancer is a labor of love for Schmidt, who acknowledges Norm Stewart, the former Missouri coach, who survived the disease and started it more than 25 years ago.

“He’s amazed where this has gone … how far it has come, and he’s very proud of it,” Schmidt said of 86-year-old Stewart.

“Because of the pandemic, the American Cancer Society’s concern is that we are losing focus on cancer and how terrible it is. “They try to emphasize, ‘Hey, this cancer thing hasn’t gone away … we have to stay on top of it.’ The goal is to find a cure. You have to give credit to guys like (Jim) Boeheim (Syracuse) and (Jim) Calhoun (UConn, retired) … both guys have had it. “

He added: ‘It’s a dreaded disease and it has affected everyone, so anything I can do to help … is challenging for me. I am part of something much bigger than I am, and it is something we can overcome. That’s the motivation, just trying to do something for other people.

“Guys like Boeheim, Calhoun, Lon Kruger (Oklahoma, retired), Roy Williams (North Carolina, retired) and Norm Stewart really put their heart and soul into this. When you see great coaches taking the time to break their busy off-season schedules, then you know how passionate they are about it. “

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