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June 2, 2012Three weeks, nine days, 18 stops, and countless hours on a big bus touring around the Mid-Atlantic region are already paying dividends for Penn State athletics.
Patrick Chambers, hosting the 16th Annual Coaches Vs. Cancer Golf Outing Friday in State College, got a firsthand look at its benefits. As coach after coach showed up to participate - including the main draw, new football coach Bill O'Brien - Chambers cited just how much the Coaches Caravan has helped.
"I think it starts with Bill and his willingness to be a part of it, and the caravan," Chambers said. "I think you're seeing some of the benefits of the caravan for us coaches. We struck up a great relationship during those few days and now you see them coming out saying, 'Hey, let me help you.'
"(Field hockey coach) Char Morett and I were just talking. 'Hey, can you help me?' Yeah, absolutely. I want to help you. Whatever we can do to raise awareness for your charitable events and your team and your program."
For Chambers, the focus Thursday and Friday was Coaches Vs. Cancer, of which Penn State's chapter has raised more than $200,000 in back-to-back years, with aspirations to exceed those totals this year.
With more than 300 golfers coming out on an overcast, and sometimes downright treacherous, Friday, the event was once again a resounding success.
"The groundwork was laid before I got here by Bruce Parkhill and Jerry (Dunn) and Ed (DeChellis). They've done a phenomenal job. Then obviously, the committee, they do most of the work. I'm just the guy out front," Chambers said. "And I'll never take credit for the big salad, as George Costanza did.
"It's great for us, it's great exposure for us, but we have to remember what this is about. It's about raising money, raising awareness for cancer. We had a great night last night and we raised a lot of money, so, it's all coming together. I'm just trying to get my arms around it and digest it a little bit."
Chambers doing much of anything has been a struggle of late.
Just weeks after knee arthroplasty surgery, the Nittany Lions' energetic head coach is still in an immobilizer on his left leg, and has been forced to hobble around on crutches and ride around on a scooter.
Still, with so much riding on the success of the event each year, Chambers said there was no question he'd be out in full force for his first chance at heading up the tournament.
"There was no question I was doing this. I'm just glad I'm able to crutch out here and just be a part of it in some little way," he said. "I'm riding around on the golf cart, saying hello to people, shaking hands, taking pictures.
"I wish I was walking, but the goal is next year to be out here and be a part of one of these foursomes."
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