AROUND TOWN: Coaches Vs. Cancer BasketBall On The Move
Bigger isn’t always better. Last year’s Coaches vs. Cancer BasketBall, the wrap-up celebration of months of work raising funds for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, drew a record crowd — more than 500 — to Mohegan Sun Casino for the sixth annual event there. Certainly, the appearance of Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim, and one of Scranton’s favorite sons, former Syracuse star and current assistant coach Gerry McNamara, helped bolster attendance. But after six years at Mohegan Sun Casino, this year’s event is moving to Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic. Scheduled May 18, the fundraiser is going to a new venue for two reasons. First, it just needs some fresh air breathed into it. And by moving to Glenmaura, while it reduces the number that can attend to about 250, it also will help bolster the bottom line for the ACS. And that’s a win. “The first year we had it, we had it at the Hilton and Notre Dame coach Mike Bray was here and we were busting at the seams, which was terrific,” said Andrew Kettel, Scranton Prep’s boys basketball coach and the chairman of the local Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. “Then we moved it to Mohegan Sun, which was great. They expanded the ballroom and we’ve averaged over 400 people per year. “And it was the same for six years and we’ve had a great run with it but we were concerned it might get a little stale.” Most of the ideas will remain the same. Big-name guest speaker, silent auction, auction items and a local honoree recognized for their personal battle with cancer. One that isn’t the same is making the event a little more elite, if you will, with a reduced number of tickets available. “The idea this year changing it up a little is to re-energize it, try and cut our costs so that more of the money is going to the charity instead of the bottom line of the event,” Kettel said. Face it: As great as Mohegan Sun Casino was as a venue for hosting the season finale, when you have an event of 500 people, although lots of money is going to the coffers of the American Cancer Society, more people means more expenses. “Not to say we won’t go back to a larger venue in the future, but right now we thought we’d change it up a little bit and have the same basic ideas,” Kettel said. “Mohegan Sun was great. Everything was great. But we’re just trying to change it up.” Currently, Kettel is trying to wrangle a big-name Division I coach who he met at last year’s Final Four in San Antonio, where Kettel was honored for his commitment. And the idea to move it to Glenmaura also keeps it somewhat centrally located for both Wyoming Valley Conference and Lackawanna League schools. “Aside from Mohegan, we thought Glenmaura was the next best place,” Kettel said. Since the event is going to Glenmaura National, the question begs to be asked, when will there be a golf tournament associated with the BasketBall? Kettel can only chuckle. “If someone wants to form a committee and run a golf tournament, we’d be all for it,” Kettel said. “I can’t fit it on my plate. “I’ve been asked every year about a golf tournament. My answer is always, ‘Go right ahead. I’ll be there. You want to form a committee and get some guys and girls together, I would support it 100 percent.’ There’s only so much you can do.” Congrats in order When she was at Scranton Prep, Jenna Skorupa was a standout on the golf course and the basketball court, where she and her Classics made one of the deepest runs in school history, the PIAA quarterfinals. Skorupa had another big moment a couple weeks ago when she gave birth to Wes James Skorupa on Jan. 12 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Wes checked in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces, and was 21 inches long. All the best to Jenna and her wife, Megan McFadden, and grandparents Leo and Maryellen Skorupa. MARTY MYERS is a sports writer for The Times-Tribune. His Around Town column appears on Sundays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-348-9100, ext. 5473 and follow him @mmyersTT on Twitter.