Coaches vs. Cancer honors Chambers as 2019 Collegiate Champion

April 07, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers was presented with the Coaches vs. Cancer program's 2019 Champion Award during the NCAA Final Four at the Guardians of the Game awards show on Sunday, April 7, in Minneapolis. The annual award recognizes a collegiate coach who has shown extraordinary leadership and a commitment to support the American Cancer Society's mission of saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. 

Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers coaches, their teams, and communities to join in saving more lives. The program leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs.

In his eight years as the Nittany Lion basketball coach, Chambers and his staff embraced the Coaches vs. Cancer Penn State chapter and have helped raise more than $1.3 million during that time. With its dynamic and dedicated committee, the Penn State chapter surpassed a monumental $3 million net fundraising milestone in fall 2018 as the organization enters its 24th year in existence.

“I am humbled and honored to accept this award on behalf of our Coaches vs. Cancer Penn State chapter, our committee members, volunteers and sponsors who are devoted to the American Cancer Society mission and serving our community,” Chambers said. “Their determined efforts and generosity over more than two decades have impacted the lives of others and provided not only resources and assistance, but also hope.”

Established in 1995 by State College native and former Nittany Lion men's head basketball coach Bruce Parkhill, the CVC Penn State chapter's mission continued with coaches Jerry Dunn and Ed DeChellis. The chapter consistently ranks as one of the top in the nation and partners with local agencies to provide assistance within the community.

The CVC Penn State chapter’s signature event, the annual golf tournament, now in its 23rd year, is supported by Chambers and his staff and is complemented by a year-round program of events to raise both funds and awareness. The Nittany Lion staff joins thousands of coaches nationwide during the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Suits and Sneakers Week. In 2017, the Penn State CVC chapter won the national 3 Point Challenge, garnering support from Nittany Lion alumni nationwide.

Other notable annual highlights for the Penn State CVC chapter include a 5K Walk/Run and Coaches vs. Cancer Day at the Bryce Jordan Center with recognition for sponsors throughout the game. New in 2018 was the “Real Men Wear Pink Centre County” campaign, and in May 2019 a Race Day soiree also will benefit the organization’s initiatives.

The Champion Award was instituted in 1996, with former Missouri Coach Norm Stewart receiving the inaugural honor. Since that time, the award has been presented to head coaches nationally, including Jim Boeheim (Syracuse); Denny Crum (Louisville); Roy Williams (then at Kansas, now at North Carolina); Riley Wallace (Hawaii); Fran Dunphy (then at Pennsylvania and at Temple); Gary Williams (Maryland); Mark Few (Gonzaga); Mike Brey (Notre Dame); Bruce Weber (then at Illinois, now at Kansas State); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut); Tom Izzo (Michigan State); Oliver Purnell (DePaul); Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech); Lon Kruger (Oklahoma); Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Steve Lavin (St. John's University); Fran McCaffery (Iowa); Frank Martin (South Carolina); and Bill Self (Kansas); and now Penn State’s Chambers.

  • Three people, two men on left and one woman, with man in center with award

    Dan Heist, chair of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors and Penn State staff member, Nittany Lion basketball coach Pat Chambers, and Penn State vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour following the presentation of the 2019 Coaches vs. Cancer Collegiate Champion Award at the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis April 7.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated April 08, 2019