YSU Hosts Coaches vs Cancer

Akron, Cleveland State, Kent State and YSU Will Play at Beeghly Center

By Dan Hiner

Matt Donlan, forward for the Youngstown State University men’s basketball team, pulls up for a jump shot over Wright State University’s JT Yoho.

Youngstown State University will be the site for the second annual Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer tournament on Saturday.

Coaches vs. Cancer is a partnership between YSU, Kent State University, Cleveland State University and the University of Akron. The tournament began in 2015 and was hosted by Kent State.

Former YSU coaches Bill Dailey and Dan Peters will be honored during halftime of YSU’s season opener against Akron. The late Carmine Cassese will also be honored by the Penguins with his initials on their jerseys.

“All the ticket sales and proceeds are going to the American Cancer Society, thanks to Medical Mutual sponsoring the event,” YSU head coach Jerry Slocum said. “We’re honoring Dan Peters and Bill Dailey. We got special uniforms made with Carmine Cassese’s initials on them. It’s really an event for Youngstown State. I hope it’s an event for the city of Youngstown; we put our best foot forward and give the American Cancer Society a nice check.”

Slocum said approximately 30 members from both coaches’ families will be in attendance on Saturday.

Slocum said he’s talked to Akron head coach Keith Dambrot about the tournament and the emotions incorporated with the games.

“Obviously, Dan was with Keith [Dambrot] at Akron in his last spell before he succumbed to cancer,” Slocum said. “It’s kind of an emotional time for us here being able to host it. It’s a rotating thing over a four-year period. I want us to have the best showing, I want us to raise the most money.”

Cassese was the head equipment manager at YSU for 26 years before retiring in 2012. In 2013, Cassese passed away from pancreatic cancer. Since 2012, the MVR has hosted the Carmine L. Cassese Memorial Bocce Tournament.

Dailey took the head coaching job in August 1987, but never had a chance to coach the team because he passed away from cancer before the start of the season.

Peters was the YSU men’s basketball coach from 1993 to 1999. Peters is third all-time in wins in program history behind former head coach Dom Rosselli and Slocum.

Peters coached at Ohio State and Cincinnati following his time with the Penguins. In 2009, he was hired as the director of Basketball Operations for the Akron men’s basketball team. In October 2014, Peters succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

“Dan and I go back to when he was at Walsh. When I was at Geneva and he was at Walsh, we scrimmaged and played each other,” Slocum said. “I knew when Dan got his first Division I assistant’s job at Western Carolina way back in the day. And obviously, when he was here. When he was here, I was thinking about taking the job here, and he and I spent a couple hours on the phone. I stayed in contact with him when he was at Cincinnati. At Ohio State, I saw him at practices. I saw him on the road recruiting.

“[I] had a good relationship with him. I wouldn’t say that we were best friends, but he was a guy that I highly respected. And again, YSU’s making a big deal. We’re honoring his family and the fact that this is a fight against cancer and trying to do something special.”

Kent State and Cleveland State will tipoff at 5 p.m. and the Penguins will play the final game of the night against Akron. Tipoff for YSU’s game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.