Former University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan and his wife Kelly are giving $500,000 to establish a new American Cancer Society fund in support of cancer research.
The gift launches the Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan-Jay Holliday Families Fund, created in memory of the couple’s longtime friend Jay ‘Doc’ Holliday, a high school football coach and athletic director in New York who died of pancreatic cancer in January.
“Jay Holliday was an incredible person, a wonderful coach and educator, and my best friend for more than 50 years,” Ryan said. “We wanted to do something special to celebrate his life and do something meaningful in his name to help fund more research, and help the American Cancer Society create more research breakthroughs. While he is no longer with us, we are honoring him and hoping that everyone in the University of Wisconsin community will get involved and help this research grow even bigger so we can fight cancer.”
Bo and Kelly Ryan were involved in the Coaches vs. Cancer program during his tenure as head coach of the men’s basketball team at UW-Madison from 2001 to 2015.
Through the Shooting Down Cancer event and the Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala, they have helped raise more than $6 million for the society.
“Coach Ryan and Kelly continue to inspire others through their generosity and passion to end cancer. We’re grateful for their ongoing support of our Coaches vs. Cancer program in Wisconsin and nationwide,” said Amy Rohrer, senior director of distinguished events for the American Cancer Society. “It’s thanks to their leadership that we’re able to build on our legacy of investing in cancer research to identify its causes and cures and, ultimately, save more lives.”