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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars to Support the Fight Against Cancer
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/26/2012
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Jan. 26, 2012

PULLMAN, Wash.- The Washington State University men's basketball team will show its support in the fight against cancer at its home basketball game Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. against UCLA as the WSU staff will don sneakers with their suits to support Coaches vs. Cancer. In addition to their work with the American Cancer Society, the Cougars will also work closely with the Mark Rypien Foundation to raise money and awareness.

The Mark Rypien Foundation was established by Cougar football great Mark Rypien who was the quarterback at Washington State from 1981-1985 and ranks sixth in both total offensive yards (5,101) and pass yards (4,573) in the WSU record book. Rypien will be in attendance at the game and will tell his story and provide more information about the Rypien Foundation at halftime of the game. Donations to the Rypien Foundation can be made before, during and after the game, which starts Saturday at 2 p.m., on the main concourse of Beasley Coliseum. In addition, donations will be taken from the crowd during the game.

In 1985, Rypien was named the top quarterback in the Pacific-10 Conference conference and finished off his collegiate career by throwing two fourth quarter touchdown passes just 49 seconds apart to lead his Senior Bowl team to victory. In addition, Rypien was named an All-American in 1984 and 1985. Following Rypien's tenure at Washington State, he was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 1986 NFL Draft. Rypien later led the Redskins to the 1991 NFL Championship and was named MVP in the 1992 NFL Championship. In addition, Rypien earned two trips to the NFL Pro Bowl.

The Mark Rypien Foundation was founded in 2004 after Rypien lost his three year old son, Andrew, to cancer in 1998. Rypien and his family experienced first-hand what families go through when fighting this potentially deadly disease, and recognized the value that quality care can bring to both patient and family. In the wake of his difficult personal experience, the Rypien Foundation was created with a commitment to provide hope for local families battling childhood cancer. The funds the Rypien Foundation raises will go directly to support local programs that improve the quality of care and quality of life for families fighting childhood cancer in the Inland Northwest.

Coaches vs. Cancer was founded from a concept by Norm Stewart, former head coach at the University of Missouri and cancer survivor. Stewart started the program by challenging fans to pledge a dollar amount for every three points scored by his team during the season. The American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) adopted his concept in 1993 and transformed it into a nationwide effort to unite coaches across the country in their common mission to provide help and hope to all people facing cancer. Coaches vs. Cancer promotes healthy living among students, faculty, school staff, fans, and the community at large, through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs. Today, over 2,000 Division I, II, and III college coaches and more than 100 high school coaches are involved in Coaches vs. Cancer and have raised nearly $50 million to support the American Cancer Society's mission to find a cure to cancer.

Each year the NABC has a nationwide campaign, Suits and Sneakers, which this season takes place the week of January 22-29. The Cougar coaching staff will wear sneakers with its suits at the WSU game Saturday, Jan. 28 at Arizona State to support the campaign. WSU is extending the week to Feb. 4 in order to raise further recognition and support the fight against cancer. Suits and Sneakers is a nationwide event that encourages coaches and their staff to wear sneakers with their game attire to promote the American Cancer Society as a place for people facing cancer to turn to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for free information and help.

The American Cancer Society is encouraging everyone to get involved and take the Suits and Sneakers Corporate Challenge. The National Suits and Sneakers Event challenges worksites of all sizes, and basketball fans across the nation to participate. Talk to your boss about declaring a Suits and Sneakers Day at work. Individuals make a donation to Coaches vs. Cancer for the opportunity to wear sneakers to work for a day (January 23-29). All donations will go directly to cancer research. Sign up your business to Team up against Cancer! For more information or to sign your team up contact Rachel Larrivee at (608) 662-7555 or

For more information about the Mark Rypien Foundation and to donate to the Foundation please visit their website at

For more information about Coaches vs. Cancer, the Suits and Sneakers campaign, and to donate to the American Cancer Society please visit their website at

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball