Tuesday, January 24, 2012


"I feel like I had zero control over getting cancer, but I have 100 percent control over how I will respond to dealing with cancer."
-Coach Kay Yow

I can vividly remember coaching at LSU and being in the regionals in Fresno, California along with UConn, Florida State and North Carolina State.  I was sitting in my hotel room with my wife Sherie and we were watching ESPN doing a special on Coach Yow and her battle with breast cancer.  The report talked about the struggles and pain of treatment as well as her fight to continue to coach her team.  Part of the report was her actually having a treatment in the charter plane on the way to Fresno.  Sherie looked at me and simply said, "What an amazing woman."

Though her camps and recruiting and working for Coach Gunter, I had come to know Coach Yow on a professional basis -- and "professional" would be a great way to describe her.  She coached the game with great integrity -- always willing to help anyone in any way.

Two months after watching that special on ESPN, Sherie was diagnosed with breast cancer and Kay Yow immediately became a much larger hero for her.  We discussed it in our home and decided to take Sherie's fight public to help raise awareness and support for this horrible disease.  We begin in our own small way working for and assisting local organizations along with the Kay Yow Foundation.  The following year at Final Four in Tampa, Sherie and I had the privilege and honor to speak at the tip-off luncheon for the Kow Yow Foundation.

For Sherie, it was a double thrill because she finally got the opportunity to meet Coach Yow who treated her as if she had known her all her life -- a trait that both made her and Coach Gunter special.  As for me? Well Coach Yow wanted to talk basketball.  "Tell me about your team?"

During my address at the tip-off I said the following:

"It is always difficult during these times to understand why God would allow something as horrible as cancer to evade those we love."  I then looked at Coach Yow and said, "But I know why he picked you.  And while the burden is more than I can understand I am so thankful for your courage and leadership.  I only hope you know what you mean to so many.  We love you."