Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coaches VS Cancer

Coaches vs. Cancer goal: Be No. 1 in the state - Scranton - The Times-Tribune

Lackawanna Trail boys basketball coach Andrew Kettel pulls no punches when it comes to his goal. He wants to be number one in the state.

How his basketball team fares is another question, but when it comes to being No. 1 in Pa., it's a goal Kettel takes very seriously as Coaches vs. Cancer readies for its third tipoff breakfast, Nov. 7 at Scranton High School.

"I think the one thing that we can hang our hat on is the amount of growth we've had in three years, and it is because of the kids in the schools," Kettel said. "The kids buy into what this campaign is all about and they run with it."

Last year, coaches from the Wyoming Valley Conference joined the Lackawanna League to expand the reach of the local chapter.

"The biggest thing to be proud of is how fast we've climbed the ladder," Kettel said. "We're recognized on a national level. I get calls from people all over the state who are seeing what we're doing and they want to learn how we've done it."

It helps to have a man like Kettel at the wheel. He started this four years ago when the father of one of his players, Casey Cathrall, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In a couple weeks, $1,500 was raised. In 2008, the pot was upped to $38,000, and nearly double that last season.

It helps to have guys like Temple coach Fran Dunphy and St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli stopping by to speak and help kick off the campaign. This year, the local soirée will welcome Hall of Fame coach Bobby Hurley Sr. of St. Anthony's High School, N.J., one of just three high school coaches to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $15 and available by contacting Tonyehn Verkitus at the local ACS at 562-9749. More info is available online at, including sponsorship opportunities.

The biggest part of Coaches vs. Cancer will come the weekend of Jan. 28-29 when the Lackawanna League will play girls games the first night and boys games the second in what has been dubbed "Suits and Sneakers Weekend." Lackawanna League athletic directors have helped add to the excitement by juggling the schedule to make it rivalry weekend.

"All the gyms will be packed," Kettel said. "They went above and beyond to rearrange the schedule and I think it will benefit everyone."

For more information check out Coaches vs Cancer of Philadelphia.