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Coaches vs. Cancer

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It's been a year now since Kay Yow has been gone; Jim Valvano, since 1993. But their legacies live on and will be visible at Saturday's UC women's basketball game.

UC coach Jamelle Elliott and her coaching staff will wear sneakers instead of dress shoes with their suits during the game against South Florida as they participate in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend in support of the American Cancer Society. Fans are also encouraged to wear sneakers to the game to show their support. South Florida's staff also will join in the effort.

Now, no one plans to have his or her legacy written by the disease they battled, and both Coach Yow and Coach Valvano had made their marks in their profession before, and in Yow's instance, during, their battle with the cancer that eventually took them too soon.  But what the coaching community has done since their passing has truly been an effort in teamwork that reaches across schools and conferences.

The "V Foundation" has raised more than $90 million since Jimmy V's "Never Give Up" speech, with ESPN initiating much of the fundraising efforts to raise money for cancer research. In 2007, the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund was started by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the V Foundation for Cancer Research, on which Coach Yow served as a member of the board of directors.

It is a credit to both of these coaches that they saw the value of continuing their legacy for the benefit of others in the future who might be stricken with their disease. It is a credit to the coaching community that it chooses to embrace the cause, and continue the inspiring work that Kay Yow and Jimmy V began.

If you're coming to the women's game Saturday, wear your sneakers. And think of the two coaches who left a legacy of inspiration, not just for their players, but for all of us.

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