Thursday, January 28, 2010

Averill Park leads the charge in Coaches vs. Cancer fundraising

Do not adjust your screen - Averill Park High School boys basketball head coach Dave Pugliese will look a little something like this, perhaps a bit more purple-ish in the beard, Friday night when the Warriors host Bethlehem in a Suburban Council contest. (Photo and color edit - The Record).

The Averill Park boys basketball program set a goal to raise $5,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer, a subsidiary of the American Cancer Society, but they needed some motivation to get there. That was when head coach Dave Pugliese pledged to dye his goatee lavender if the Warriors could surpass the $5,000 mark.

Through the sale of T-Shirt, pin-ups around the 'Wall of Hope' outside the Averill Park High School gym and donations, Averill Park surpassed that goal and Pugliese will go purple Friday night when the Warriors host Bethlehem in a Suburban Council game at 7 p.m.

Almost every team around Section II helps raise a few bucks for Coaches vs. Cancer, many by holding 50/50 raffles, or charging an extra dollar for a program. A year ago, Section II teams (including soccer, football, volleyball teams and nearly every other sport was involved, too) raised $45,000, said Kate Dooley, the former Lansingburgh High and Siena College star that now works for the American Cancer Society. This year, the section-wide goal was set at $55,000 and with Averill Park's gargantuan effort, it looks like that mark will be shattered.

It was a personal situation at Averill Park, as many of the players and coaches have been directly impacted by the disease in one way or another. The Warriors wore pink shoelaces to raise awareness for breast cancer a few seasons ago, but on the insistence and energy of Robin Pugliese, Dave's wife, Averill Park raised some serious cash.

Robin, a first grade teacher in the district, organized a campaign to sell 'Fear the Warrior' T-Shirts - the rear says 'Fight for the cure' with a lavender ribbon on the sleeve. Lavender is the official color of general cancer awareness. Students quickly snapped up the t-shirts and they wear them to games to show their support to a pair of causes.

Averill Park isn't the only school to have made a difference in the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

Brian Fruscio, head coach of the boys team at the Albany Academies, has raised over $30,000 the last two years by hosting events at Siena College and Times Union Center. Much of that money came from sponsors and big-ticket raffles.

The Cadets host another Coaches vs. Cancer event this Sunday, January 31 at the Siena College ARC. Here is your schedule, and don't forget to pick up a program to see this year's sponsors.
Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and families will get in for $15. All proceeds, of course, go to the ACS.

2009-10 Coaches vs. Cancer High School Challenge at Siena College
Colonial Council
Cohoes vs. Lansingburgh, Noon
Suburban Council
Guilderland vs. Mohonasen, 1:45 p.m.
Non-league
Newburgh vs. Bishop Maginn, 3:30 p.m.
Nichols vs. Albany Academy, 5:15 p.m.

For more information, visit www.capitalcoachesvs.cancer.org

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