Feb. 8, 2012
By Courtney Boeckman, Sports Marketing Academy Intern
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Head Coach Charlie Coles and the Miami University men’s basketball team will be boxing-out more than just its opponent; the RedHawks will be fighting to box-out cancer.
It is a cause that is particularly close to home for Coach Coles. He lost his mother to cancer, and in May 1991 his wife, Delores, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My wife is so valuable. She is the closest person to me in the world,” said Coles. “You know, you always think that someone else will have it, and she got it. And after my mother, Mary, passed away of cancer at age 54, that really scared me.”
Since then, with much chemotherapy and radiation, Delores has battled and defeated breast cancer, cancer of the uterus, and stomach cancer.
During those battles, Delores was not able to be in her usual seat at the games, but she was always on Coach Coles’ mind. When he was not coaching, he was taking her back-and-forth to chemotherapy.
“It was her—number one, number one—all the way,” said Coach Coles.
One time, right before Delores went into the hospital for chemotherapy, Coach looked at her and said, “Delores, if I could do this for you I would.” She looked back at him and said, “You couldn’t handle it.” Coach agreed as he replied, “You’re right, I couldn’t handle it.”
Coach Coles has had his own bouts—two bypasses, one of which was a 14-hour operation, and an incident in 1998 in which he lost his pulse during a game at Western Michigan. Yet he still thinks cancer is far worse.
“I just think that cancer is a terrible, terrible thing. Anybody that has it—my heart really goes out to them. I try to say a prayer for them. To me, those are some brave people who have it and face it,” said Coles. “Anything I can do for the cause, I would be willing to do because it is such a terrible, frightening disease.”
RedHawk fans have the opportunity to show their support by purchasing an exclusive Miami Basketball "Box-Out Cancer" package. It includes a ticket for the men's and women's basketball games, a Box-Out Cancer t-shirt, and a voucher for a hot dog & soft drink. A portion of the proceeds will go to Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG) and survivors in the Tri-State area.
Pink Ribbon Girls, non-profit organization founded by Miami alumna Tracie Metzger, offers young women support and an outlet to express fears and concerns. PRG provides services for members such as meals, housecleaning and scholarships for conferences geared towards young women and breast cancer. Pink Ribbon Girls’ mission is to provide personalized support to young women throughout all phases of the breast cancer journey. This is accomplished through education, outreach, awareness, and one-on-one support to women and their families. The organization’s vision is that no one travels this road alone.
The RedHawk basketball teams invite friends, families, students and fans to support the cause at Millett Hall on Saturday, Feb. 11 beginning 1 p.m. as the women's team takes on Northern Illinois followed by the men's team battling Central Michigan at approximately 3:30 p.m. Fans are asked to wear pink as they cheer on the RedHawks and Box-Out Cancer!
To purchase the Box-Out Cancer Ticket Package, visit the Athletic Ticket Office at Millett Hall or call 513-529-4295.