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Coaches vs. Cancer’s 2011 Champion Award Recognizes Former Georgia Tech Basketball Coach Paul Hewitt
Veteran Mentor Recognized For His Work in Support of the American Cancer Society and its Vision of a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays

ATLANTA – March 30, 2011 – Former Georgia Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt is the recipient of the 2011 Coaches vs. Cancer® Champion Award, presented annually to a college coach who has been significantly engaged in the program’s fundraising, education and promotional initiatives and who has demonstrated leadership in the fight to save lives from cancer and embolden the American Cancer Society’s vision of a world with less disease and more birthdays.  


Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers coaches, their teams and communities to join the fight against cancer.


The Champion Award will be presented on April 3, during the AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show at the Cullen Theater at Wortham Center in Houston, host city for the 2011 NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship.


Hewitt, a member of the NABC Board of Directors and a former Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, is intimately familiar with cancer’s impact. His father, diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago, is now cancer free. Hewitt’s high school basketball coach in the New York City area died of cancer in 1993. 


In the summer of 2009, Hewitt took his three daughters and his entire team and coaching staff to visit the American Cancer Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta, which, like the 30 other such facilities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, serves as a home away from home – free of charge – for those undergoing cancer treatment. Hewitt said the experience changed his life, and, he and his wife, Dawnette, decided to take up the Hope Lodge mission as their own. 


Through involvement with Coaches vs. Cancer and their first year hosting of a major fundraising event, the Hewitts helped secure in excess of $300,000 for the Atlanta Hope Lodge’s operational costs, and they introduced more than 100 new donors to the American Cancer Society and its mission. The BasketBall event attracted more than 300 attendees, including top-level corporate executives, other college basketball coaches, NBA stars and media personalities. The event and Coach Hewitt’s commitment to the American Cancer Society’s vision and to Hope Lodge were subsequently documented several times by an Atlanta-based regional sports television network.


The 2011 BasketBall Gala, “Celebrating a Season of Hope,” is slated for late May, with the Hewitts again serving as hosts.


Prior to the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Hewitt and his team again visited the Atlanta Hope Lodge, where they spent time with guests and invited them, along with their caregivers, to attend Georgia Tech’s home game with Maryland during Coaches vs. Cancer’s Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend in late January. 


The Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge lobby features a commemorative glass basketball sculpture, honoring the Paul and Dawnette Hewitt, their family, the Georgia Tech basketball program and corporate supporters of the BasketBall Gala.


“Coach Hewitt has given generously of his time to the American Cancer Society and its lifesaving work. His efforts in hosting the annual BasketBall Gala fundraiser in Atlanta and exposing his players to the great services provided through our Hope Lodges have been truly representative of his passion for the Society’s mission of helping people stay well and get well, of finding cures, and of fighting back,” said Stephen L. Swanson, 2010-11 national volunteer chair, American Cancer Society Board of Directors. “We are greatly appreciative of all that Coach Hewitt does to further the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving work and service to so many people undergoing cancer experiences.”


The Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award was instituted in 1996, with former Missouri coach Norm Stewart receiving the inaugural citation. Since that time, the award has honored head coaches Jim Boeheim (Syracuse); Denny Crum (Louisville); Roy Williams (then at Kansas and now at North Carolina); Riley Wallace (Hawaii); the “Philly Six” (head coaches at Philadelphia schools – Villanova, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Penn, LaSalle and Drexel; award accepted by Fran Dunphy, then the coach at Penn and now at Temple); Gary Williams (Maryland); Mark Few (Gonzaga); Mike Brey (Notre Dame); Bruce Weber (Illinois); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut); Tom Izzo (Michigan State); and Oliver Purnell (Clemson; now at DePaul).


Since Coaches vs. Cancer’s inception in 1993, high school and college coaches across the country have raised more than $65 million to help further the American Cancer Society’s mission. Through their passion for the game and their promotion of healthy lifestyles, coaches have elevated cancer awareness at their schools, in their communities and throughout the nation, often emphasizing how the disease has touched them personally.


Several other national events throughout 2011 continue to highlight the productive work of Coaches vs. Cancer, including Fight Cancer In Style – an event for coaches’ wives during NCAA Final Four weekend, April 2-4, in Houston; the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Invitational, June 12-13 at The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island (S.C.) Resort; and the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic (12-team nationwide basketball tournament) in November.


The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.


Jamie Kimbrough
Director, Media Relations
American Cancer Society
(404) 417-5889