Willamette to Participate in Coach to Cure MD

Bearcats Host Southern Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University's football coaches will participate in the fourth annual Coach to Cure MD program during the Bearcats' game against Southern Oregon University on Saturday, Sept. 17. Coaches associated with the most college teams will participate in the event on Sept. 24, but Willamette is involved this weekend because the Bearcats do not have a game next week.

The Coach to Cure MD program is designed to raise money to battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Organizers nationwide expect the dollar amount raised during the first four years to pass the $1 million mark at some point this fall. Donations go to research projects supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

During the event on each college campus, members of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) will wear a Coach to Cure MD logo patch on the sidelines and college football fans will be asked to donate to Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.

Last year, more than 9,400 college coaches at 373 institutions participated in the Coach to Cure MD program. The fundraising total after three years of the program was nearly $875,000.

Football fans can donate to Duchenne muscular dystrophy research by going on-line to www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word CURE to 90999 (a $5 donation will automatically be added to your next phone bill along with any applicable texting charges). If using the text messaging method, you will receive a message back shortly after sending the text. The message will ask you to confirm the donation.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and primarily affects boys across all races and cultures. boys and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy develop progressive muscle weakness. Eventually it causes loss of mobility, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function. Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and limited therapeutic options exist.

"Our coaches have really embraced the Coach to Cure MD cause over the last three years," said Grant Teaff, executive director of the AFCA and legendary former coach at Baylor University. "Because the disease affects so many young boys, it makes sense for college football coaches to step in and make a difference. We are proud to see so much support on the sidelines every September, from coast to coast at every level of play."

For more information, go to www.CoachtoCureMD.org.

Kickoff for Saturday's game between Willamette and Southern Oregon is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PDT). Willamette leads the all-time series, 16-13. The Bearcats defeated the Raiders, 42-24, last season.

Mark Speckman is in his 14th season as the head coach of the Bearcats.

Mark Speckman is in his 14th season as the head coach of the Bearcats.