PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The American Cancer Society Greater Pittsburgh chapter is poised for another big fundraising push when it hosts the 11th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Madness gala Tuesday night.
The event will be held at the East Club Lounge in Heinz Field and more than 300 guests are expected to attend. All six of Pittsburgh’s Division I basketball coaches—Pitt, Robert Morris and Duquesne—will be on hand to help in the fight against cancer.
“When you can get the three sets of coaches from all three universities together, that’s kind of the springboard we need to reach the entire audience from each university,” said Brian Gulish, Pittsburgh area’s communications director.
Since 1993 the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative has raised more than $110 million for the American Cancer Society. The program aims to leverage personal experiences, community leadership and the professional excellence of coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities and advocacy programs.
“Our overall goal is not only to raise money for cancer research and programs and services that we have at the American Cancer Society,” Gulish said. “But we also want to create awareness, too, and make an impact on the fight against cancer.”
The marquee guest and speaker will be two-time NCAA national champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill, who was recently enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“When you can bring someone in who was just inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month, that’s a huge opportunity to put the event on a larger scale and larger platform,” Gulish said.
Previous special guests have included John Calipari (2013), George Karl (2014), Jay Bilas (2015), Bruiser Flint (2016) and Sean Miller (2017).
“It brings a whole another opportunity for someone who has played the game to speak to our audience as opposed to someone who coaches the game,” Guish said of Hill. “It provides a unique angle.”
With Hill attending and the renewed energy surrounding the Pitt men’s and women’s basketball programs, Gulish strongly believes the event will help educate a much larger audience.
“That’s why the whole point of Coaches vs. Cancer is to use their influence in the local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer,” Gulish said. “Again, it’s not just about the money. It’s about education awareness and the opportunity to put the American Cancer society on a platform.”
As the largest nonprofit-funder of cancer research, the American Cancer Society is currently funding $6 million in research grants in Pittsburgh. All money raised Tuesday night will go towards pediatric cancer research.
“We’ve actually fed more money into Pittsburgh than we can actually bring into the market,” Gulish stated. “It’s a really cool opportunity for this money to go to specifically pediatric cancer research. It’s one of the areas we’ve been investing in more recently.”
The event will feature both silent and live auctions and a Golden Ticket raffle for a chance to win a pair of Penguins (Dec. 1) and Steelers (Dec. 2) tickets and hotel accommodations. Other prizes include party packages to Top Golf, foursomes at Laurel Valley, Allegheny Country Club and Sewickley Heights, $1,000 gift card to Samuel Baron Clothiers, and an authentic James Conner signed jersey among others.
Guests are encouraged to wear formal attire and sneakers, and tickets remain. If interested in attending, tickets are available at www.cvcpittsburgh.org or by calling 412-919-1100.