Pictured above is Bob Burchard, the NAIA's representative on the NABC board, and athletics director and men's basketball coach at Columbia College (Mo.), with his wife, Faye Burchard, dean of academic affairs at Columbia.
It's not just a fashion statement to wear sneakers with that suit. It's a sport-wide effort to fight cancer. Members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) celebrated "Suits and Sneakers" weekend earlier this month, raising both awareness and funds to fight cancer.
Leading the charge for the NAIA members of the NABC was Bob Burchard, men's basketball coach and athletics director at Columbia College (Mo.), and the NAIA representative on the NABC board of directors.
"The national Suits and Sneakers day is special for so many reasons," Burchard said. "Cancer touches all of our lives, and the Suits and Sneakers event is when college basketball coaches and teams across the nation recognize the impact on all of us through awareness and fund-raising activities."
The NABC encouraged all member coaches and their coaching staffs to wear sneakers with their suits at games held that weekend to show support for the program, which is a partnership between the NABC and the American Cancer Society.
Columbia College took it another step further by asking all the top administrators at the college to participate.
"The week was amazing in that our entire campus rallied together," said Burchard. "Even our top administrators wore sneakers on Friday! Every dollar donated is special and meaningful."
The Columbia Cougar community raised $3000 over the weekend to help in the fight. Donations were collected throughout the week with the big event taking place on Saturday during the Cougar and Lady Cougar basketball games.
The Cougar athletics department sold cardstock cut-outs of sneakers that lined the entry way to the Arena of Southwell Complex. Those who purchased a sneaker were asked to write down the name of someone whose memory they would like to recognize or someone they would like to honor. In addition, all four coaches who were in the arena Saturday asked the fans to join them on the court and drop whatever they could in the buckets that were being passed around.
Since 1993, NABC member coaches and the American Cancer Society have worked in tandem to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living among students, faculty, school staff, fans, and the community at large, through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs.