John “Butch” Gleason loved basketball.
The only thing the former Ocean City High School athlete loved more was his family (though thoroughbred racing and certain special sandwiches belong on the list, too).
Tomorrow an event will be held at OCHS that brings together basketball and the Gleason family in a tribute to Butch’s memory and for a good cause.
Ten years ago Gleason, a close friend of former Temple University basketball coach Fran Dunphy, brought the idea of a Coaches vs. Cancer event to his alma mater. Butch was a member of the last OCHS boys basketball team to win a state championship. Dunphy was president of Coaches vs Cancer.
It started with a single boys game dedicated to a pair of coaches who lost their lives to the disease – Dave Lewis and Al Angelo – and later expanded to a Saturday event
including a girl-boy doubleheader. Three years ago, a girl-boy doubleheader between the Ocean City Intermediate School and Upper Township Middle School was added.
Through the years the event in the Dixie Howell Gym has raised nearly $20,000 for the American Cancer Society. When Gleason died in 2014, the fund-raising event was renamed The Butch Gleason Memorial Coaches vs Cancer Day.
Tomorrow’s event will start at 3:30 p.m. with the middle school games and the Ocean City High School teams will be playing a girl-boy doubleheader against Wildwood High School starting at 5:45 p.m.
There will be a half-court shootout for fans at halftime of the high school games for Johnson’s Popcorn gift certificates and McDonald’s gift cards. Coaches vs Cancer items and certificates will be available for purchase.
If you can’t make it tomorrow you can donate online here.
There is also a pair of sneakers worn by Kentucky’s Hall of Fame coach John Calipari and autographed by him that is available for online bid here. These shoes promise to be a valuable collectible.
A silent auction will take place all day with the winners being announced following the boys game. A list of auctions items is below, with a few additional items possibly added at the last minute.
List of Coaches vs. Cancer Auction Items
foursome at Atlantic City Country Club
gift basket from Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
foursome at Ballamor Golf Club
basketball autographed by Villanova’s Jay Wright and other Philly coaches
two tickets to a Flyers game plus a gift certificate to John’s Roast Pork (selected the home of the best Philly cheesesteak)
dinner for four at Golden Corral with sports celebrities Bruce Beaver & Ron Moretti
full car detail at Car Caress
dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls
large tubs of Johnson’s Popcorn
Associate Membership at Harbor Pines Golf Club
Phillies baseball autographed by Matt Szczur
Twins baseball autographed by pitcher Sean Mooney
Angels baseball autographed by pitcher Dan Nunan
gift basket from Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge
SkinCeuticals skin care products
basketball autographed by OCHS Boys varsity team and coaches
basketball autographed by OCHS Girls varsity team and coaches
books about OCHS Sports in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties