UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five years ago to the day, Patrick Chambers was hired as the head coach of the Nittany Lion basketball program.
On June 3, 2011, Chambers and the program probably could not have imagined what type of impact he could have on the community through the Penn State chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer.
But one thing is certain. There is no better man to be the centerpiece of an event and fight driven by a positive attitude than Chambers.
The basketball program lives and breathes by the motto of approaching any type of adversity with a choice. You can either face challenges with a great attitude or dwell on them with a negative attitude.
For Chambers, there is no choice because everything he touches has a positive tone.
The atmosphere at Friday's 20th Anniversary Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament was again proof of that. A few light rain showers in the morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon for the approximately 300 golfers taking part of the event held at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses.
"It's just a great day with a lot of great people coming together for a very tough cause," said Chambers. "The energy out there on the course was amazing. There is a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of great people to help raise awareness and raise funds.
The list of participants in the outing included several Penn State head coaches, including field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss who recalls the CVC-Penn State's first days in Happy Valley.
"Every coach of the basketball program has just done a great job taking the helm of this event," said Morett-Curtiss. "We've all been affected by someone with cancer. It's such a great cause. And if we can generate the energy and support, we are going to help and someday we are going to find that cure."
A who's who of Penn State Basketball alums took part of the festivities - Brian Allen (1986-89), Dave Angstadt (1974-76), Wally Choice (1981-84), Nick Colella (2012-13), Joe Crispin (1998-2001), Jon Crispin (2000-01), Chuck Crist (1970-72), Pete Lisicky (1995-98), Kevin Montminy (2012-15), Tyler Smith (1999-2002), Jarrett Stephens (1996-2000) and Alan Wisniewski (2012-15) - along with five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, who returned to the CvC event for the third-straight year.
For Chambers, this event has taken on a different meaning in recent years. Chambers lost his brother, Greg, to lung cancer at age 60 in March of 2014, and the CVC event has touched him personally.
"It's hit me differently over the five years," said Chambers. "You carry the torch because you want to be a part of this community and you know so many people who have been devastated by this disease. And then it hit home a couple years ago for me, which made it even more personal."
Chambers spent the morning session making the rounds on the golf course saying hello and greeting the participants before playing golf in the afternoon. Head football coach James Franklin visited the event prior to the afternoon tee off to show his support for Chambers and the CvC group.
The pioneers of the CVC-Penn State were former head coaches Bruce Parkhill and Jerry Dunn. Parkhill founded CVC-Penn State in 1995 before the first golf outing took place in 1997 under the direction of Dunn. Both were in attendance on Friday and could not be happier with how the event has grown.
"It's really remarkable to see how this has grown," said Parkhill. "To think about how many people this program has touched over the last 20 years is remarkable. It has grown into one of the nicest events around."
After addressing the afternoon flight of golfers, Chambers kept the mood light in his five-man group on the golf course. He thoroughly enjoys his time on the course during the CvC outing, and it's event that he looks forward to all year long.
Beyond the lighthearted talk on the course, Chambers is among a group of many leaders who play an integral role in a battle much bigger than a win or loss on the court or field of play. A great deal of credit goes out Parkhill, Dunn and Ed DeChellis for helping pave the way for CVC-Penn State to be what it has become today.
CVC-Penn State topped the $2.5 million mark in fundraising this year and immediately began to push towards the $3 million mark.
"It's hard to even know if Bruce (Parkhill) and Jerry (Dunn) even thought it could become this magnitude," said Chambers. "The ability to bring together a University and a community and the athletic department speaks volumes about the people who are part of this. There are some great people here at Penn State. And once again Penn State's pride really shows."
The CVC Golf Tournament is the flagship event of the organization created to raise funds year-round to support the American Cancer Society affected by the disease in Centre County through the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund (BCAF). In addition to the golf tournament, Coaches vs. Cancer conducts a year-round calendar of seven events.
The golf tournament has more than doubled in size since it began in 1996-'97, and there could not be a man with a better attitude continuing to lead the CVC-Penn State fight than Coach Chambers.
While it was a fun day on the golf course, the bigger fight cannot be stated enough. To get involved as a sponsor or participant in Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer please visit CVCPENNSTATE.ORG or call 814-330-3337.
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