By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – When the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team takes the court on Thursday against Southeast Missouri, they'll not only be fighting for the Ohio Valley Conference standings, but for a larger cause as well as the Golden Eagles will Play4Kay, playing their part in the annual initiative to beat cancer.
The Golden Eagle players and coaches have selected honorees, ranging from cancer survivors to those who have lost their battles with cancer. During the game, those honorees will be recognized with their names on the team's shooting shirts. Fans are also encouraged to join the team and wear pink for Thursday's OVC battle.
A legendary figure in women's basketball, Kay Yow was one of the sport's top coaches, winning more than 700 games, coaching the U.S. women's team to Olympic gold in 1988 and inducted into the Naismith, FIBA and Women's Basketball halls of fame.
She was also a fighter. Before her coaching run in the Seoul Olympics, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and devoted time in raising awareness and resources in battling the disease. She founded the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund with support from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Even as her cancer returned in 2004, Yow continued to fight and even after her death in 2009, her legacy continues to live on. With the Play4Kay initiative – sponsored by ESPN, the NCAA, Nike, the V Foundation and the WBCA -- teams from all over the country use their contests as a springboard to reflect, remember and support those who have fought and continue to fight against all cancers affecting women.
The vision for the Play4Kay initiative came directly from Yow. Through its efforts, she saw a way to bring communities together and honor cancer warriors in the fight against all cancers affecting women.
Fans and supporters can also play a part in the fight. The Play4Kay program has a goal of bringing together one million people in a fundraising effort to combat cancer. Called the "Power of One … Million," the fundraiser states that "Play4Kay is about unity. On our team, there is one goal – end all cancers affecting women. Join us in uniting one million people to beat cancer – You are the power of one."
For more information on the Play4Kay initiative, click here.
Tipoff for Thursday's Play4Kay contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Hooper Eblen Center. Tickets are on sale now – call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUsports.com to order.
Photo | Matt Dexter, TTU Athletics