The Keene State men’s basketball coaching staff laced up their sneakers and suited up for a cause during last week’s away games against Plymouth State University and Rhode Island College (RIC).

The games were played in association with Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Week, a nationwide partnership between the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society to raise money and awareness about cancer prevention, screening and early testing, according to the society’s website.

“We’ve obviously had a number of individuals within our programs specifically that have been impacted by cancer, we’ve had survivors in our program,” said head coach Ryan Cain. “There’s a number of people on our program in various ways that have been impacted.” Cain said this cause is particularly important to him, after losing his father to cancer almost two years ago.

“This is an event that is personal and important for me, and a nice way to honor my father,” Cain said. “He was a very strong supporter of just basketball in general and athletics as a whole and definitely grew my passion for the game, both as a player and as a coach.”

The program participates in the event each year, Cain said. Because the Owls were competing on the road this year for Coaches vs Cancer Suits and Sneakers Week, they were not able to formally participate in the event by allocating proceeds from ticket sales or donations towards the cause. However, Cain said they made an effort to promote and support the cause more vocally on social media this year.

David Hastings, associate head coach, posted a video to Twitter honoring two members of the KSC men’s basketball program, present and former, that have been impacted by cancer. “I suit up today for two members of the Keene State family: Nick Napolitano, student assistant coach, and Nikki Ebbighausen, former trainer for the Keene State men’s basketball. We want to tell everyone, please, get tested and let’s continue the good fight against cancer,” Hastings said in the video.

“It’s a nice way to raise that awareness and honor people that have been impacted in various ways… there’s stories like this across the country, just a nice event that the coaches put on in partnership with the American Cancer Society,” Cain said.

Caitlin Howard can be contacted at

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