Honored for work against cancer, coaches humbled by Neumann's award

Posted: September 12, 2012

THE NATIONAL Coaches vs. Cancer program began nearly 20 years ago. The Philly Six coaches got involved with their own chapter in 1996 and have now raised nearly $5 million to fight cancer.

For their efforts, the six city coaches - Fran Dunphy (Temple), Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph's), Jerome Allen (Penn), Jay Wright (Villanova), Bruiser Flint (Drexel) and John Giannini (La Salle) - will be honored on Oct. 3 at Neumann University with the university's 2012 "Institute for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development Award."

The Institute at Neumann is "committed to the concept that sport possesses an inescapable spiritual and ethical dimension that merits academic exploration and practical application."

The institute's inaugural award went to Keith Primeau last year. The former Flyers captain went back to school after he retired from hockey and just happened to graduate from Neumann on the same day as his oldest son, Corey.

Dunphy and Martelli, as the longest-tenured head coaches in the city, have been there from the origins of the Philadelphia Chapter.

"It's easy for us because we go out and talk about 'Coaches vs. Cancer,' " Dunphy said. "But the real people who deserve all these accolades are those people who spend their time and their money and their effort to come out for the galas, the breakfasts, the golf tournaments. We now have the school initiative program that has just taken off like crazy. It's all those people that just want to get behind it. The easy part is saying we're into it. The hard part is for those people to get out there and spend their [time] with us."

The award, Dunphy said, "means a lot. I certainly appreciate Neumann University doing that. We'll go and celebrate good work done in the community by a lot of people. We're just the face of it, but certainly don't do nearly the work that some of the others do."

A reception will be held at 6 p.m., with the award ceremony at 7:30 in the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development on the Neumann campus in Aston. Tickets to the event are free. For more information, call 484-840-4707 or e-mail isscd@neumann.edu.

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