Food, drinks and music were aplenty Thursday night at Medlar Field on Penn State's campus as Nittany Lion men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers helped kick off the 17th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament Weekend.
The CVC Sponsor/Captains Reception was just one of three big events this weekend, including Friday's golf tournament and evening banquet at the Mt. Nittany Club in Beaver Stadium finishing off the major fundraising effort.
With another $200 thousand raised this year, the fourth in a row for an organization that has now topped $2 million since its inception, Chambers was once again pleased by the efforts of the community in coming together to support cancer patients in the Centre County region.
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"It's a great turnout. The silent auction is going unbelievably. People are having a lot of fun. A lot of laughs. We're celebrating the survivors, we're celebrating the caregivers, we're celebrating the people we lost," Chambers said. "I think it's important. This night is amazing, getting the captains together. It really kicks off the whole weekend."
Having inherited the lead role as a fundraiser from Penn State's previous hoops coaches, Chambers also said how fortunate he feels to be able to take the mantle from his predecessors.
"What they've done here - Bruce, Jerry and Ed - it's my turn. I took the torch and the community does a phenomenal job. It's a well-run machine," he said. "Because of them, I'm in the position I'm in. We're about to go over two million dollars. It's our fourth year in a row going over two hundred thousand dollars, and that's all year long. They've done a great job and I'm fortunate to be able to lead this."
Now, all that's left for Chambers is showing off his golf expertise on Friday alongside Penn State football head coach Bill O'Brien.
The pair, playing together for the first time, will headline a celebrity five-some for a lucky three-some that bid on their services as part of the silent auction Thursday night.
Though Chambers isn't likely to out duel O'Brien, a bashful - but talented - golfer, he won't be able to rely on the knee surgery that prevented him from playing in last year's tournament.
Said Chambers, "I tried to play nine holes on Memorial Day and it was an ugly, ugly scene. I looked like a field hockey player out there, but I stink fast and I have a lot of fun and I like to laugh."
"People will pay to golf with you…" this reporter asked.
Without missing a beat, said Chambers, "Just to say how bad I stink. Yes."
Editor's note: I am pleased to be one of 300 golfers participating in Friday's tournament as a 'celebrity' captain for the fourth year. At this point, the event's organizers have given no indication why one unlucky group will have the misfortune of watching me hack up the Penn State Golf Courses.