In a way to increase cancer awareness, a pair of area basketball coaches will participate in a national event while they roam the sidelines Friday night.

In a way to increase cancer awareness, a pair of area basketball coaches will participate in a national event while they roam the sidelines Friday night.
Northeast girls basketball coach Jason Clemensen along with his boy’s counterpart Matt Hiatt will take part in the 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend when they take the floor against Erie tonight.
By wearing sneakers with their suits tonight, both coaches hope to raise awareness for cancer.
“It is something that the Association does and they have done it for a few years now,” Clemensen said. “We just want to raise awareness for cancer patients.”
And, they are going above and beyond just wearing the sneakers during tonight’s games.
“We are going to have announcements as to why we are doing it and we will have something in our program about it,” Clemensen said. “It is a small thing, but people are going to notice and ask questions about why we are doing it.”
The event is done in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society.
Jim Satalin, director of the Coaches vs. Cancer program for the American Cancer Society, said that they have recently started to get high school basketball coaches involved in, what has been in the past, a tradition for college coaches.
“We really have tried to make an effort to get the high school coaches involved in the program,” Satalin said. “We went to a meeting last year and made a presentation to high school associations and the feedback we received was that they wanted to take part.”
He said that it has been the goal of the Coaches vs. Cancer program to get more prep coaches involved over the recent years.
“While it won’t be as visible as the college coaches Satalin said. “But, if we can get more high school coaches involved then that will be something that we will be very proud of.
“The coaches have all been very receptive,” Satalin said. “If you talk to any coach, or anybody, we have all been touched by someone with cancer. I think a lot of our coaches have been involved in this for a long time and Kay’s [N.C. State head coach Yow] fight has been public for a long time and her perseverance is an incredible thing.”
Yow died this week after a longtime battle with cancer.
Both Northeast coaches said they just want to do their part to raise the awareness and hope that other area coaches will take part.
“It would be something that I would love to see other coaches do,” Hiatt said. “Hopefully, even though Arma is a small area, we can bring that awareness and see other coaches in the area next year.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140