COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin and his wife, Anya, are hoping to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
The couple hosted the inaugural Coaches vs Cancer Ball at Colonial Life Arena Friday night as part of a decades-long campaign to fight the disease.
The Martins, who have been in Columbia for a year now, made it priority to make the fundraiser a signature event for the area after the family's scare with cancer. Anya's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and is now recovering.
"It was a tough time for us," said Anya Martin. "We just figured, at this point, anything can happen. We can lose a loved one at any time, so we need to do a little bit more."
A who's who of the basketball universe gave their star power to the event, drawing in a crowd of roughly 500 to the event. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, former Missouri head coach Norm Stewart, and former Southern California head coach George Raveling. Several local legends like Tyrone Corbin and coach George Glymph were also in attendance along with dozens of Gamecock alumni.
"You're talking about hall of fame people," said Martin. "For them to be supportive of this event, hopefully makes people understand just how much these coaches care."
The Coaches vs. Cancer program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers coaches, teams, and communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer by promoting fundraising activities, awareness efforts and advocacy programs.