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Coaches vs. Cancer Tribute Mural Fits In Perfectly At THON

Cancer research fundraising and awareness levels are at a maximum across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as people continue to dance into the final stretch of the 46 hours of THON.

We took notice of one specific area of historical murals that are located above each section portal inside of the Bryce Jordan Center.

Around the BJC, many murals have been placed up to honor past Penn State hoops legends. Joe Crispin, Tim Frazier, Maggie Lucas, and Talor Battle are just a few of the stars that are immortalized in the halls of the arena. However, the space above the signs for sections 124 and 125 captures a few moments that are more important than who holds the Nittany Lion scoring records: pictures from the 2015 Coaches vs. Cancer men’s basketball game against Iowa.

One of the two murals spotlighting the Coaches vs. Cancer movement, located between sections 124 and 125 of the Bryce Jordan Center. (Photo: Mitch Stewart)

Founded thanks to a collaborative effort by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1993, the organization has raised over $100 million for advancements in the fight to cure cancer.

The initiative was introduced to the basketball program back in 1995, with the team hosting a themed game once per year in addition to a spring 5Ksummer golf tournament, and a night out with the State College Spikes to help raise money for the cause.

On Jan. 28, Penn State defeated Illinois 71-67 on Coaches vs. Cancer Day. In 2015, $200,000 was raised by roughly 800 people during a car raffle at the Spikes’ Coaches vs. Cancer night. This year, the State College Beer Expo held on Tussey Mountain is the newest on the list of events and organizations teaming up with current head coach Pat Chambers and the team. In the 20 years since they first began participating with the foundation, Penn State has become the fourth-largest Coaches vs. Cancer program in the country, raising more than $2.5 million through its various charity events over the years.

In addition to donating to the Coaches vs. Cancer Foundation, a portion of these proceeds is awarded to the Bob Perks Fund, a local organization driven toward helping those in our immediate community with more direct support to fight against cancer. The fund is named after former Penn State baseball player Bob Perks, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 42 after a fight with melanoma. A founding father of Penn State’s Coaches vs. Cancer branch, the fund in his namesake was established in 2006 by his wife, Doreen, in addition to their family, friends, and colleagues.

Over 300 golfers, including 70 coaches, participated in last year’s Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament. 70 different sponsors joined in to show their support for the event. Many former Penn State players, such as the Crispin brothers, Frazier, Ross Travis, and five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, have taken part in the event which will celebrate its 21st consecutive year on June 1-2 at Penn State’s Blue and White golf courses.

The 16th annual Coaches vs. Cancer 5k will take place on April Fools’ Day, beginning that morning at Medlar Field. Last year, the fee was $15 and included a commemorative t-shirt. Each year, the work done by the Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer organization helps around 200 Centre County residents and their families.

Though THON still has the center stage for a few more hours, make sure to pass by sections 124 and 125 to check out the mural for yourself on your next trip to fill up a water bottle or to devour a ridiculously-good grilled cheese.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his role with Onward State, Mitch talks about all the #sprots on Penn State's CommRadio. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him as he yells on Twitter about Penn State basketball @mitchystew.

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