Press Release – PHOENIX, Arizona (March 2, 2017) – On March 31 at 10 a.m. PST, two teams of cancer survivors—called Hardwood Heroes—will go head-to-head at the University of Phoenix Stadium to raise awareness for cancer research and survival.
This game returns for a second year as a part of INFINITI’s long-standing partnership with Coaches vs. Cancer®, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the NCAA. Also a part of this partnership is the Round by Round Bracket Challenge, an INFINITI tradition since 2011 that has resulted in more than $4.1 million in donations to Coaches vs. Cancer.
The Hardwood Heroes teams are led by four NCAA coaches with impressive winning backgrounds. Team Harrick, led by returning Coach Jim Harrick and Assistant Coach Doug Gottlieb, is made up of returning Hardwood Heroes players, including Mike Thompson (Austin), Harrison Guiol (San Antonio), Scott Odom (Fort Worth), Walter Gordy (Houston), Christina Davis (Houston), Iram Leon (Austin) and Lexi Stephens (Houston).
Team Ryan, led by Coach Bo Ryan and Assistant Coach Miles Simon, will have all new Hardwood Heroes players, including Lena Spotleson (Phoenix), Kristina Anderson (Scottsdale), Melissa Kovalesky (Phoenix), Oscar Barragan (Phoenix), Jared Ornoski (Phoenix), Devon Hinton (Dallas) and J. Dee Marinko (Oklahoma City).
“These survivors have proven that they are unstoppable, and each player has a story of courage and strength in winning their own battle against cancer,” said Allyson Witherspoon, director of marketing communications and media, INFINITI USA. “We had the opportunity to capture their unique stories and behind-the-scenes moments that will air throughout March Madness® and the Final Four®.”
In support of this initiative, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will capture footage at the Hardwood Heroes team practices and game during their coverage of Final Four weekend. Highlights will air between the two Final Four semifinal games on Saturday, April 1, and prior to tip-off on Championship Monday on CBS.
INFINITI is also sponsoring the Tip-Off Tailgate, the on-site, pre-game fan experience where fans can enjoy music, participate in a free throw competition and take a look at the Coaches vs. Cancer commemorative wall signed by the Hardwood Heroes. They can also get a closer look at the 2017 INFINITI QX30.
The Round by Round Bracket Challenge, which launches March 12, is a way for basketball fans to join INFINITI in the fight against cancer. For every correct pick during the challenge, INFINITI will donate $1 to Coaches vs. Cancer, and participants will be entered to win a trip to the Final Four® tournament.
Learn more about INFINITI’s fight against cancer and watch the Hardwood Heroes players tell their stories, visit www.infinitiusa.com/hardwood-heroes.
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About the NCAA
The NCAA is a diverse association of more than 1,100 member colleges and universities that prioritize academics, well-being and fairness to create greater opportunities for nearly half a million student-athletes each year. The NCAA provides a pathway to higher education and beyond for student-athletes pursuing academic goals and competing in NCAA sports. More than 54,000 student-athletes experience the pinnacle of intercollegiate athletics by competing in NCAA championships each year. Visit ncaa.org and ncaa.com for more details about the Association and the corporate partnerships that support the NCAA and its student-athletes.
About the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest “Phog” Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education. Additional information about the NABC, its programs and membership, can be found at www.nabc.org.