As reported by The Hartford Courant, April 22, 2006.

Calhoun Honors Valvano's Fight 

Receives Award with Boeheim

By Mike Anthony

NEW YORK -- Jim Calhoun stepped to the podium and proceeded to poke fun at Jim Boeheim. He drew laughs by belittling himself and even took a few lighthearted jabs at the late Jim Valvano, the inspiration behind the event that brought nearly 500 to Pier Sixty on the west side of Manhattan to raise cancer awareness.

Amid the clang of forks digging into elegant desserts, Calhoun had something for the crowd, too.

"For those of you who complained to me tonight and said I screwed up your pool, I don't care," Calhoun said. "I screwed your pool up? I screwed my whole year up. They say to me, `Congratulations on a great year. I had you in the pool.' Well, I'm sorry. America, I'm sorry."

The reference to UConn's loss to George Mason in the Elite Eight sent the crowd into an uproar. Moments later, Calhoun was turning the pages of a prepared speech to address serious issues that are as dear to his heart as any championship.

Calhoun was honored with Boeheim at the second annual Spirit of Jimmy V Gala Friday night. Both coaches led their teams to the national championship a year after beating prostate cancer, Boeheim in 2003 and Calhoun in 2004. Both also have more than 700 victories and were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year.

"Two outstanding people who have overcome obstacles," said Nick Valvano, chief executive officer of the V Foundation. "The timing was right with all they have accomplished lately, but these awards are about what kind of people they are, not just what kind of coaches they are."

Last year when former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was honored, the event raised $500,000 through ticket sales, donations and sponsorships. And with 47 tables of 10, and at $1,000 a plate, the V Foundation should match that.

Each person who spoke - whether it was Calhoun, Boeheim, host John Saunders or keynote speaker Dick Vitale - captured what the evening was about: a mix of amusing anecdotes and wise-cracks and a coming-together for a serious cause. The V Foundation was founded in 1993 by Jim Valvano, the former N.C. State coach who died of cancer at 47. The foundation has since raised more than $50 million for cancer research.

A grant in honor of Calhoun will fund prostate cancer research by Peter Albertsen, professor and chief of urology at the UConn Health Center. Albertsen also is the doctor who treated Calhoun in 2003. A grant in Boeheim's honor will fund breast cancer research led by George Y.C. Wong of the Strang Cancer Prevention Center in New York.

"Tonight is about awareness," Calhoun said. "Any time you can raise money for cancer research and create awareness, it's a great thing. And to be a part of it is a great honor."

Saunders spoke of his affinity for the foundation and his love for his late friend, Valvano. Boeheim did much the same and was brief, even though he joked about trying to extend his speech to cut into Vitale's time. And Vitale gave a lengthy, throaty speech.

Calhoun spoke of his first meeting with Valvano in 1971, when Calhoun was a high school coach and Valvano a UConn assistant, and called Valvano the only coach who could talk faster than him. Calhoun then spoke of his own battle with cancer, which led him to make a point about Valvano.

"The word `courage' is used a lot," Calhoun said. "It certainly takes courage to fight to save your own life, but it takes even more courage to fight to save your own and fight to save and improve so many others."