By Ian Mikrut
Photography: Ben Petchel

With the fun and excitement of a university pep rally, the 7th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Madness scored major points with more than 450 guests. Held in the East Club Lounge of Heinz Field, the annual event fundraises for and spreads the word about Coaches vs. Cancer — a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Madness is possible because of the collaboration from Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Robert Morris University,” says American Cancer Society Specialist, Distinguished Events, Lia Stahl. The cocktail party kicked off with bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, and mascots. All six of Pittsburgh’s NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s basketball coaches — Jim Ferry, Dan Burt, Jamie Dixon, Suzie McConnell-Serio, Andrew Toole, and Sal Buscaglia — were in attendance. Emceed by Bob Pompeani, the “suits and sneakers” fundraising event also welcomed special guests Dr. Stanley Marks of UPMC, former Steeler and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mel Blount, and NBA legend George Karl. The live and silent auctions — which included the sneakers Dixon wore that night, took off, and autographed for bidders! — raised more than $240,000. Says Stahl, “It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event to ‘tip off’ the 2014-15 basketball season.”

Event photos are available for purchase in the WHIRL Photo Vault:

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