Coach Spotlight: Bo Ryan
Men’s Basketball Head Coach,
University of Wisconsin
Since joining the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer® program in 2007, Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan has excelled on both local and national levels, raising more than $1.7 million to support the Society.
“Coaches vs. Cancer is a cause that is dear to my heart because each and every one of us has had our lives affected by this horrible disease," Ryan says. "Every dollar we can raise to aid cancer research, education, and advocacy brings us one step closer to finding cures and saving countless lives.
"One of my mottos in life has always been 'Next’ as in looking toward the next challenge and obstacle, rather than dwelling on the past. It is my hope, along with all of the coaches who get involved with this great cause, that our 'Next' in the fight against cancer will be survivorship."
Over the past seven years, Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin has raised more than $1.7 million to support the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives and create more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures and fighting back. At the University of Wisconsin, the American Cancer Society has funded more than $51 million in research since 1947, with 21 Society-funded grants currently in effect.
Coach Ryan’s team of coaches has transformed the Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala from a small local fundraiser into one of the state’s premiere social events. The fundraiser brought in nearly $700,000 in 2013, making it the largest Coaches vs. Cancer gala in the nation.
Also in 2013, Ryan was given the American Cancer Society 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 supporting the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer.
During the last two years, Ryan and his wife, Kelly, ramped up campus engagement through the “Shooting Down Cancer” event, inviting students onto the court to “Make Bo Pay.” The Ryan family pledged $1 for each student who attended, $10 for each free throw made, and $1,000 for each half-court shot sunk. Student participation rose from 1,600 to 2,100 from the first year to the next, with successful half-court shots increasing from 36 to 59!
These popular events have resulted in raising $108,000 in the last two years for the American Cancer Society, through the Coaches vs. Cancer program. “What a fun event for our team to get to know the students on campus and hopefully do some good while we’re at it,” says Ryan.
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