College of Coastal Georgia News
By Christy Lynn Wilson with Kevin Price
Our coaches fight hard to help our student-athletes win on the court, the field, and the course. But now, our outstanding coaches are joining a fight against a much bigger opponent: cancer.
Coastal Georgia's men's head basketball coach Jesse Watkins is leading the charge flanked by his fellow coaches. They will be participating in the Suits and Sneakersprogram this week, an initiative of the American Cancer Society and National Association of Basketball Coaches'Coaches vs. Cancer partnership.
To raise awareness of the ongoing need for cancer research and help raise money to fund it, the Coastal Georgia coaching staff will wear their sneakers along with their suits when the Mariners take on Florida MemorialUniversity in a Sun Conference matchup at Howard Coffin Gym TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m.
While the Suits and Sneakers program is an annual effort, the event has taken on special meaning this year for Coastal Georgia's Men's Basketball head coach.
Earlier this month, Coach Watkins was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"It hits you hard when you find out," Watkins said today when talking with the sports communications staff about his diagnosis and Coastal Georgia's participation in the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative this week. "But, you realize you have the opportunity to be cured and you have to do what's best for you in that regard. You have to wake up, smile, and fight to live the next day. I hope that, by raising awareness and funding for research, there can one day be a cure for cancer."
Watkins is working with doctors to schedule surgery and his prognosis is excellent due to early detection.
"[Cancer] is a personal issue with me," Watkins said of the Coaches vs. Cancer program. "I just want to make sure everyone is aware of the importance of early detection and getting tested at certain ages like doctors suggest.
"Awareness is important. Like [former N.C. State head coach] Jimmy Valvano [who died of cancer at age 47 just months after his epic ESPY speech] said, cancer has affected my life. It may or may not affect yours, but it may affect someone in your family or someone in your life. It's just important that we raise awareness."
At the Thursday men's and women's doubleheader against Florida Memorial, fans will have a chance to make a donation to the Coaches vs. Cancer effort at the ticket table when they enter the Coffin building. All proceeds generated locally will go to the National Association of Basketball Coaches fundraising campaign.
For more than 25 years, the Association has partnered with American Cancer Society to raise funds for future cancer research. During its time, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised over $115 million to support the cause.
For more information on Coaches vs. Cancer, click here.