For 19 years, celebrities in sports and entertainment have gathered once a year to play a golf tournament in honor of a local North Carolina legend.
On Sunday, August 26 they gathered once again for eighteen holes at Lonnie Pool Golf Course on Centennial Campus at NC State.
That legend, former North Carolina State head basketball coach Jim Valvano, won an NCAA national title in 1983. But his endearing legacy, one that will have allowed him to impact millions, even after his death from cancer in 1993, is The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
During the 1993 ESPY’s, Coach Valvano gave an impassioned speech where he announced the foundation’s formation, less than two months before he died.
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day,” Valvano said in his speech.
“Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
The foundation’s motto “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” also comes from that famous speech at the ESPY’s.
Nineteen years later, those that knew him continue to support his last wishes.
Dereck Whittenburg was a member of the 1983 NC State team Valvano coached to a national title.
Whittenburg gave an indication as to what he thinks Valvano would think about his foundation, the golf tournament and the progress made in cancer research.
“He would say ‘that’s great, we’re doing a great job but we haven’t done enough. We haven’t found the cure for cancer.’ That would be Coach V’s exact words and we continue to fight and we continue to raise money and hopefully we can find a cure,” said Whittenburg.
American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery, who grew up in Garner and currently attends NC State, took part in the tournament.
“It’s really cool for me. I live right down the road, grew up a Wolfpack fan. By no means is it just a Wolfpack tournament but it’s kind of like the Wolfpack family with Jimmy V and everybody,” said McCreery. “To come out and support the cause that he raised a lot of awareness for, it’s cool that I can help out in some way.”