Rivals Ladue and Clayton team up against a common enemy

Emma Ewell
Ladue senior Trent Stiebler defends the ball from an opposing player on Clayton's team before taking a free throw. Ladue won the game with a score of 50-47. "Between shirt sales and the collection at halftime, the two schools raised almost $2000." STUCO organizer James Goldwasser said.

Despite their differences, rival schools Ladue and Clayton came together on Friday, Jan. 19 to raise money for the American Cancer Society during their ninth annual Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game. Ladue’s Director of Activities Nick Gianino and Clayton’s Athletic Director plan the date of the game, while Clayton’s Captain Council and Ladue’s STUCO organize the student aspect of the event. Social Studies teacher and STUCO sponsor James Goldwasser explains the origins of the fundraiser.

“Coaches vs. Cancer started as a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and National Association of Basketball Coaches,” Goldwasser said. “Former Mizzou basketball coach Norm Stewart, a cancer survivor, was the early driving force. Nine years ago, the local American Cancer Society office invited Coach Anderson, the Athletic Director and I to roll out the high school version of Coaches vs. Cancer. What was once a just in college basketball has made it to high school as well.”

Before the game, STUCO members sell T-shirts and advertise the event through various means, such as organizing a “spirit week” and pep rally the week of the fundraiser. Class of 2019 STUCO Vice President Trey Freund describes the role STUCO plays during the Coaches vs. Cancer game.

“Typically, at half time, members of each of the STUCOs rush around the gym, asking for money from fans in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” Freund said. “When the third quarter starts, the STUCO members go in a room and count all the money, and then later in the game, each schools’ total is announced. Typically, Ladue wins both the fundraiser and the game.”

Both school’s STUCO members attempt to collect as much money as they can from the crowd in buckets in just one minute during half-time. This year, Ladue raised more money than Clayton for the ninth time in a row.

“Ladue raised the most money at around $1,187 which was considerably higher than Clayton’s total,” Freund said. “Ladue also won the [basketball] game last Friday with a score of 50-47.”

Aside from shedding light on an entertaining school rivalry, the Coaches vs. Cancer game represents a fight against a problem of much larger proportions. The game provides a way for students to channel their spirit into a cause that affects millions of people worldwide.

“Coaches vs. Cancer’s goal is to raise money for the American Cancer Society to improve cancer research, since cancer affects so many of us,” Freund said. “Because Ladue and Clayton are such big rivals, it seems natural to hold a big fundraiser during the game. Both my mother and grandmother were affected by cancer along with many other friends of mine, so it is great that both rival schools can look past their differences and come together to rally around a common cause that will benefit society as a whole.”