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Gonzaga, Syracuse on same team

Coaches, wives share interest in fundraising

BUFFALO, N.Y. – College basketball coaches steal ideas from each other all the time.

Who knew their wives did as well?

Just ask Marcy Few.

When she and husband Mark were looking for a fundraising idea for Coaches vs. Cancer, they emulated one of the best: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and his wife, Juli. Thus was born the highly successful Basketball Gala.

“They’re the ones who had the idea for the Basket Ball event itself for Coaches vs. Cancer and they encouraged us to do it in Spokane,” Marcy Few said Saturday. “We probably would have done something as far as fundraising, but we essentially use the format of their event in Syracuse and tried to recreate it here.”

But, again just like what commonly occurs on the court, the Fews put in a twist.

“The thing we did differently here is we added the golf,” Marcy said.

Over the past eight years, the Fews’ Coaches vs. Cancer efforts have raised about $4 million for cancer research.

Though there is no keeping up with their friends the Boeheims.

Most know about Jim Boeheim’s 828 wins and 2003 national championship in 34 years at Syracuse, but few know how diligently he and his wife work in cancer fundraising.

“I don’t think people realize how many days a year he gives up” for the cause, Mark Few said.

Boeheim, a prostate cancer survivor, chairs the committee overseeing the Coaches vs. Cancer movement.

The Boeheims’ fundraising results are significant as well, with their Basket Ball event – the first of its kind in 2000 – having helped raise more than $4.5 million for the central New York chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Is there a competition that rivals the one that will play out on the court today?

“Not between us, not really,” Marcy Few said with a laugh. “I think people that work on our committee and stuff, they’re more competitive. I know the person who runs the golf tournament, Jerid Keefer, he’s always telling me where we stack up with Syracuse.”

The basketball part of that will be decided today. But the philanthropic part, that’s more of a team effort.

Over the years, the two families have attended each other’s events and have, as Marcy Few said, “grown from colleagues to friends.”

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