Coaches raise cancer awareness with a change in footwear

USF men's basketball coaches wear sneakers in support of cancer awareness. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

If you looked at members of USF’s coaching staff this week from the ankle-down, you might think everyone courtside would be playing basketball.

USF men’s basketball coaching staff joined coaches from across the country in Coaches vs. Cancer’s annual event, Suits and Sneakers Week on Tuesday night against Wichita State.

“The coaches have done an unbelievable job with the Coaches vs. Cancer,” USF coach Brian Gregory said.  “Not only in raising the awareness throughout this entire week, but also raising funds over millions of dollars in terms of that Coaches vs. Cancer has done.”

The event runs from Jan. 21-27 and is designed to raise awareness, funds and encourages people to educate themselves about cancer prevention.

Gregory said he sees how important this week can be for more than just basketball.

“I’m proud as a coach to be a part of that,” he said. “It’s something that is making a positive impact throughout the entire country and the coaches, you look at some of the hall-of-fame coaches that lead the way and it’s incredible.”

On Tuesday night, Gregory wasn’t alone in wearing sneakers. 11th-year Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall also donned sneakers to complete his suit. Cancer is an important topic to Marshall and his family.

“Everyone I know has been affected by cancer in some form or fashion,” Marshall said. “It took my grandmother and stepfather, so anything coaches can do to bring awareness and try to raise funds to eradicate that awful disease would be great.”

Gregory echoed Marshall’s statement.

“There’s not a single coach, not a single person, that hasn’t been impacted some way by the destruction that cancer can cause and the fight that you have to put up against it,” Gregory said.

The plan, according to Marshall, is that coaches will sign their game-worn sneakers from the week, then donate them to be put up for auction on the National Association of Basketball Coaches website. Part of the money raised will then be donated to Coaches Vs. Cancer.

Though the reason behind the week is quite serious, the coaches at Yuengling Center had fun with it Tuesday night.

“You’ll see us in sneakers,” Gregory said. “I’m not sure it’s the best look around, but you’ll see us in them."

Marshall, on the other hand, was focused on the comfort of his new footwear.

“It’s a good idea, I might wear them all the time now,” Marshall said. “They felt good on my feet.”