American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic 2023 E-Update

May 2023│Issue No. 4

Dear Friends,

This past month, I was honored as this year’s Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award winner. Please know that’s an honor I share with so many teammates - including all of you involved with the Las Vegas Golf Classic. We must never take what we’ve built together in LV for granted. It’s special in so many ways.

While some of us may get recognized for our efforts, the real heroes are the individuals and families fighting cancer every day. That’s who our team is fighting for, and we must never lose that focus. 

Coaches vs. Cancer events are a great opportunity to mobilize everyone in the fight against this deadly disease. We just held our annual fundraiser here at the University of Illinois, as I was joined by fellow Big Ten head coaches Tom Izzo, Fran McCaffery, Matt Painter and Fred Hoiberg in a dinner and auction attended by more than 1,500 Illini fans that raised $450,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Evenings like that are special; when you see a community come together and rally around a cause. And nowhere is that support and generosity more impactful than at the LV Classic. I have been coming to Las Vegas for a decade now. It is the preeminent event on the CvC calendar and one that I consider myself fortunate to be part of. 

I’m looking forward to seeing our Coaches vs. Cancer teammates now more than ever. Thank you for saving lives by supporting the Classic.

See you in Vegas next week!

Brad Underwood

Illinois, Head Coach

Coaches vs. Cancer Council

Event returning to Park MGM for the third year in a row

It’s time! Sunday night marks the start of the 16th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, presented by Sanford Health and hosted by MGM Resorts International. All proceeds - anticipated to once again exceed $1.8 million - will benefit the American Cancer Society. (Click here for event schedule and here for event program.)

The event tips off for participants and special guests with a private party at Park MGM’s NoMad Pool on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. PT for the PARTY WITH A PURPOSE. Sean Farnham (ESPN) and D.J. Allen (Xs & Os of Success) will host a short program celebrating Coaches vs. Cancer. Mad Dog Radio's JT the Brick will serve as emcee. Golf then tees off Monday morning. 

A series of logistics emails (access initial one here) are being sent to all participants from Samantha Molinero with more details, including transportation information to and from the golf courses on Monday and Tuesday (9 a.m. PT shotgun start on both days at Shadow Creek, Cascata and TPC Summerlin/Southern Highlands)

Mission and Magic on Monday Night

The “Bigger Monday” Party will be held at JEWEL Nightclub inside Aria Resort & Casino beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT. During this evening, Beth Lano, patient of Comprehensive Cancer Centers and a classically trained musician who is Associate Principal French horn with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, will share her incredible journey as a stage IV metastatic non-small cell lung cancer survivor while stressing the importance of early detection and successful treatment outcomes. Additionally, the American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery program will be highlighted.

The evening will end with guests enjoying a special performance from Farrell Dillon of Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club

As a graduate of the Chavez School of Magic, Dillon was on all eight seasons of Masters of Illusion, The Today Show and many other shows. He has also been nominated for the Best Stage Magician of the Year award by Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle.

His arsenal of tricks includes sleight of hand, dangerous stunts and so much more. Dillon’s show is a Vegas must-see.

Complimentary shuttles will be available from 6:15 - 7:15 p.m. and upon the party’s conclusion. Access the shuttle at Park MGM’s Uber/Rideshare staging area. The Aria Express Tram is another option for transport at no cost. The escalator down to Jewel Nightclub is located near Aria’s north entrance. (See map here.) A valid photo ID is required for entry, and all guests must be 21 years of age or older. 

Dress to both evening events is "Summer Cocktail Casual.” (Potential options for attire include, but are not limited to: summer dresses, slacks, shorts, polos and button up shirts.) We are anticipating warm temperatures throughout the event. Be sure to pack accordingly and stay hydrated! 


While you are enjoying your time in Las Vegas, remember to tag Coaches vs. Cancer (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), MGM Resorts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and Park MGM (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on social media.

For more information, contact Samantha Molinero with ACS at [email protected] or (954) 639-2101.  

Sanford Health leads the way in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic. While we’ll hear more from Sanford Health’s president and CEO Bill Gassen on Sunday night at the Party with a Purpose, let’s learn more about him now: 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

I hope that others would see me as kind, thoughtful and honest. 

What motivates you the most?

My faith and my family. My incredible wife, Jill, and I are the fortunate parents to five amazing children who inspire us every day to live our lives in service to others. 

What’s the first concert you ever attended?

The Eagles in Rapid City, S.D.

Best life lesson you have learned and like to share?

As the CEO of Sanford Health, I have a motto that guides me as a leader: At the end of every decision is a patient. 

This motto is applicable outside of the health care space too. Every choice we make has the potential to make an impact - good or bad - on the lives of others so it’s important that we put thought into our decisions. 

What always makes you laugh?

My kids! We have five kids between the ages of 4 and 13, so at least one of them is always saying or doing something that makes Jill and me laugh. 

Who is one of your favorite leaders to emulate and why?

I have always looked up to my dad, Matt. He served our country in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years before founding South Dakota’s first hunger relief organization, Feeding South Dakota. He taught me the importance of humility and service. 

Why are you involved in the CvC LV Golf Classic/fight against cancer?

Everyone has been impacted by cancer in some way, and if there is anything we can do to support cancer research, we will do it. In my role at Sanford Health, I have the privilege of hearing some of the most emotional stories from our cancer patients and their families. I recently received a note from the husband of a cancer patient at Sanford who shared the good news that his wife had a clear PET scan after months of treatment. Sadly, I also hear stories about the patients who bravely battled cancer but didn’t make it. Each of these stories inspires me to give back however I can. 

Cancer research is a priority for our health system, and we are proud to foster a culture of innovation through cutting-edge clinical trials. Thirteen percent of our cancer patients are enrolled in clinical trials compared to an average of 3 percent nationwide. These clinical trials give patients access to new treatments while helping to improve care for future generations. 

Team Sanford Health in 2022

Relationship built on Comprehensive & Classic's mission to serve patients

Cancer patients and their loved ones are “the why” for the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic. And the event’s ongoing relationship with Comprehensive Cancer Centers makes that a focus.  

“Our teammates at Comprehensive Cancer Centers have been so instrumental in the success of the Las Vegas Golf Classic throughout the years,” said Lon Kruger, event founder and chair. “They take so much ownership of celebrating those we are fighting for. They bring such a special spirit to the event. We can’t wait to tell the incredible story of (Comprehensive patient) Beth Lano during this year's 'Mission Moment.'”

The evening will spotlight Beth, a classically trained musician who is Associate Principal French horn with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. In 2022, Beth was admitted to Sunrise Hospital due to breathing issues and extreme fatigue. Doctors diagnosed her with pericardial effusion, fluid around the heart, and she was rushed into emergency open heart surgery to drain the fluid as well as determine the root cause. Doctors had to break ribs to reach her heart, but she survived the surgery. She unfortunately had little time to recover before suffering the next blow, as she was informed the cause of the excess fluid was stage 4 metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to lymph nodes in her chest and cervical spine.

She was referred to Dr. Anthony Nguyen (pictured) at Comprehensive, who then established a treatment plan. Her Comprehensive care team attributed the bulk of the previous pain she felt to malignant tumors in her chest lymph nodes attaching to chest scar tissue, causing pain as they miraculously began to shrink. It was then recommended that Beth continue the infusions long-term, receiving secondary chemotherapy along with immunotherapy. After initially being told that her cancer was manageable, she had an amazing result - a recent PET scan concluded that she was in remission. (Learn more about her courageous journey in the video below.)

“Our patients are the reason we do what we do - and the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic is such a pride point for our physicians, staff and, certainly, the community as a whole,” said Jon Bilstein, chief executive officer of Comprehensive. “This event provides a special opportunity to recognize our patients’ and their families’ inspiring stories.” 

Comprehensive is a multi-specialty practice offering medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary medicine, cancer genetic counseling and clinical research to patients in Southern Nevada. The practice has 45 physicians, 16 advanced practice providers and 14 treatment centers and offices throughout Southern Nevada.

Comprehensive prides itself on its extensive research program that brings groundbreaking clinical research trials to the community. The practice, which partners with institutions such as UCLA TRIO-USThe US Oncology NetworkUSCMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and leading pharmaceutical companies, participates in more than 100 Phase I, II & III clinical research studies each year, and has contributed to the development of more than 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies.




All three gross champions from last year’s Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic presented by Sanford Health will look to repeat in 2023. Team Canfield (Jordan Canfield, Bob Chipman, Chad Roesler, Justin Jacquinot) and Sooner Stickmen (Danny Heatly, Ron Clark, Tyler Woodward, Bo Overton) are returning fully intact while Bob Cunningham and Dave Frankenfield return from OU Sports Properties.

Coach Jud Kinne (pictured on right) returns after his Houston Christian foursome took home a net title last year as do Bud Hebert & Jerry Baker (OU Benefit Architects) looking to defend their net title. 

Two teams always in contention for titles - NextGen Cattle Co. (Derek Thompson, Damon Thompson, Ron McHenry) and Nike (Eric Lautenbach, Rich Schlachter) - return after second place gross finishes. 

Other teams/players looking to place for consecutive years include: Iowa’s Fran McCaffery, Matt Mausser, Cory Gourley & Scott Bush; Findlay Automotive (Robby Findlay, Stephanie Bernas); PGA Defects (ESPN’s Sean Farnham, Ian Morgan, Dave Gorman); Xs & Os of Success (Mike Turner, Dale Eeles, Daniel Allen, Dan Lai) and The UPS Store (Tom Englund, Jay Ship, Carl Digennaro, Greg Sak). Former PGA Tour professional and native of Henderson, Nev., Craig Barlow also figures to keep his team in the mix. 

Current/former head coaches scheduled to attend the event starting this Sunday:

Roy Williams

North Carolina (retired)

Greg McDermott


Matt Painter


Fred Hoiberg


Chris Crutchfield


Bob Chipman

Washburn (retired)

Ron McHenry

Washburn (retired)

Lindy La Rocque


Dana Altman


Lon Kruger

CvC Council Chair (retired)

Andy Enfield


Tubby Smith

High Point (retired)

Tim Miles

San Jose State

Ron Cottrell

Houston Christian

Jim Harrick

UCLA (retired)

Fran McCaffery


Brad Underwood


Kevin Kruger


Jerod Haase


Reggie Theus


Pete Herrmann

Young Harris (retired)

Chris Klieman

Kansas State FB

Illinois coach is longtime supporter of LV Golf Classic

Illinois’ Brad Underwood was recently honored with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award. In the last six years, he has helped raise over $1.2 million for Coaches vs. Cancer Illinois. This year, his "Kickin' Cancer" event raised $450,000 alone. 

His work as a Coaches vs. Cancer Council member, his standout support of Suits And Sneakers Week, and his continuous participation in events across the country (including the past decade with the LV Classic) prove he is a champion of both the program and cancer awareness nationwide. 

Additional sponsorship and underwriting opportunities available

Sponsors are critical to maintaining a sustainable event for the American Cancer Society by covering the expense of essential elements. If you and your company are not able to attend this month’s Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic but would still like to support the American Cancer Society, these sponsorship opportunities could be the perfect option for you.

By committing to sponsor a specific element of the event, you or your company will receive special acknowledgements surrounding the event activation as well as name recognition on the event website and during the event program. For additional recognition benefits, please contact Samantha Molinero at [email protected]. These sponsorship opportunities do not include individual spots and foursomes. Your sponsorship would be 100% tax deductible.

A special thank you to our sponsors

Warren DeMaio

Danny & Dana Heatly

Lon & Barb Kruger

Nikki & Jamie Harris with the

Phil Smith & Family Foundation

Bud Hebert & Marc Warrington

The McGivern Family

Have questions about the 16th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic? 

Visit the Classic's website or contact Samantha Molinero with American Cancer Society at [email protected] or (954) 639-2101.

2022 Video Message from Coach Kruger
2022 Photos

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