ALBANY — In an ideal world, Monday’s event wouldn’t be necessary.
In the real one, though, University at Albany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown said he’s proud to co-host the 14th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Basket Ball with Siena College men’s basketball Carmen Maciariello, along with their respective wives, Jamie Brown and Laura Maciariello.
"You have the platform, and I think it's very important that you use it," Brown said Friday after his team's first preseason practice. "As much as you want to raise money, you want to continue to raise awareness."
This year’s event to benefit the American Cancer Society takes place 6 p.m. Monday at Albany Capital Center, and will see a number of notable basketball figures take part besides Brown and Maciariello.
Iowa freshman Patrick McCaffery — son of former Siena head coach Fran McCaffery, who will be in attendance — will accept the event’s “Mary Ann Raymond Donnelly Fighting Spirit Award” as a survivor of pediatric cancer, while Glens Falls native Joseph Girard III — now a Syracuse freshman — will accept the night’s “Inspiration Award” in honor of his late grandfather Joe Girard Sr.
Syracuse assistant coach Gerry McNamara will be at the event in support of Girard III, while Old Dominion head coach Jeff Jones — who has fought prostate cancer while leading his program — will receive the night’s “Champion of Hope Award.”
ESPN commentator Freddie Coleman will serve as the night’s master of ceremonies.
“It’s a special cause and it’s a special night to help attack [cancer],” Maciariello said Saturday. “It’s just great when a bunch of people from the basketball community can come together for a great cause.”
“The Albany community has rallied around the event,” Brown said. “Our university and Siena have done a tremendous job supporting this event.”
The annual event has raised more than $2 million. Tickets are able to be purchased online through the event’s website — acscapitalregionevents.com/coaches-vs-cancer — through 9 a.m. Monday, while general-admission tickets for $175 are available at the door. Donations toward the event can also be made through the event’s website.
“It’s just about making a difference,” Maciariello, Siena’s first-year head coach, said of the event. “Everyone knows somebody — many people — that have been affected by cancer.”
"I’m just hoping that we can find a cure at some point in my lifetime," Brown said, "or at least my children’s lifetime."